Dr Katharine Fernstrom

Adjunct Faculty in Anthropology and Art History


Ph.D., Anthropology, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, 1999
M.A., Anthropology, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, 1980
B.A., Anthropology, University of Massachusetts Amherst,1976

Areas of Expertise

Native American Arts
Melanesian Arts
Exchange Systems
Social Organization
Art History


Dr. Fernstrom's geographic specialties are Native America and Melanesia. Her topical and theoretical specialties are archaeology, ethnohistory, art and material culture as these relate to systems of exchange and communication, and social organization. She has done archaeological fieldwork in Maryland, Arizona, New Mexico, and Illinois. From 1987 to 2002 she was a member of the curatorial staff at The Baltimore Museum of Art where she served as Associate Curator of the Arts of Africa, the Americas, and Oceania. Her current projects include developing an exhibition of works on paper by Inuit artist Myra Kukiiyaut, researching Tiffany & Co.'s use of Native American design at the 1893 Columbus Exposition, and exploring the unified history of American murals including Baltimore City.


Community and Professional Service

  • Member, Native American Scholarship Committee, Society for American Archaeology, 2021-current

  • President, Central Chapter of the Archaeological Society of Maryland, 2019-current. 

  • Past member, Ethics Committee, Society for American Archaeology, 2015 - 2021


Grants and Awards

  • Maryland Open Source Textbook (M.O.S.T.) Faculty OER Mini-Grant Award, from the Kirwan Center, University of Maryland (Grant # 5020210) to adopt/adapt OER resources for Towson University’s Art History 108: Introduction to Nonwestern Art. June 1, 2020- May 31 2021

  • Award of $600 by The Adjunct Faculty Professional Development Fund, Maryland Institute College of Art, to enhance teaching Native American Art History by visiting works on paper by Myra Kukiiyaut at the Art Gallery of Guelph, Ontario, Canada Aug. 2017.

  • Towson University Service-Learning Faculty Fellows program to develop a Service Learning
  • Component in Public Mural Art for the class: Anthropology of American Culture. Sept. 2011-Aug. 2012.

Selected Publications and Presentations

  • “Commodity and Heritage: Works on Paper by Myra Kukiiyaut.” First American Art Magazine. No. 29, Winter 2021.

  • Bodies of Evidence: Variation in Pre-Contact Native American Human Figures. Paper presented at the 120th Annual Meetings of the American Anthropological Association, Baltimore, MD, Nov. 17-21, 2021

  • Topics in Native American Art and the Law, Webinar presented for the International Society of Appraisers, January 12, 2021

  • Can We See Travelers in Rock Art? Paper presented in the Symposium The Role of Rock Art in Cultural Understanding: A Symposium in Honor of Polly Schaafsma (Sponsored by SAA Rock Art Interest Group) at the 84th Annual Meetings of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, New Mexico. April 10-14, 2019

  • Striking a Pose: The Human Figure in Pre-European Native American Art. Presented at the AICAD Symposium, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, Nov. 7-9, 2018.

  • Embodying Identities: The Human Figure in Pre-European Native American Art. Paper presented at the 83rd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC April 11-15, 2018.

  • Moderator for the Panel “Beautiful Walls for Baltimore” at School 33, Baltimore MD. Organized by the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts to accompany the Exhibition “Beautiful Walls for Baltimore.” 2016

  • The Archaeological Potential of the Mace Farm at CCBC, Essex, Baltimore County. Paper Presented, at the 81st Annual Meeting of the Eastern States Archaeological Federation, Solomons Island, Maryland, October 30-November 2, 2014

  • The Arts of American Identity: Tiffany & Co.'s Use of Native American Design at the Paris (1889) and Chicago (1893) International Expositions. Paper Presented at the Annual Meetings of the New England American Studies Association, Boston, 2010

  • Archaeology and the Construction of Euro-American Identity: Tiffany & Co. at the 1893 Chicago Exposition. Paper presented at the 75th Annual Meetings of The Society for American Archaeology, St. Louis, Missouri, April 14-18. 2010

  • “Nunavut: Our Land.” In the Series “Native American Cultures”, Presented by the Johns Hopkins University Odyssey Program, 2006 

  • "The Alan Wurtzburger Oceanic Collection of The Baltimore Museum of Art" in Pacific Arts Journal, Nos. 15 & 16:88-96. 1997

  • "Northern Lights: Inuit Textile Art From the Canadian Arctic"; a traveling exhibition originated by and shown at The Baltimore Museum of Art; also exhibited at the MacDonald-Stewart Art Centre, Guelph, Ontario, June 11-July 18, 1994 and the Winnipeg Art Gallery, August 17-October 9, 1994; co-curator with Anita Jones and Bernadette Driscoll Engelstad. Accompanied by the Catalogue: Northern Lights: Inuit Textile Art from the Canadian Arctic coauthored with Anita Jones. The Baltimore Museum of Art. 1993