As curator in the House of Representatives’ Office of Art and Archives, Farar Elliott ’87 is fascinated by the stories that objects can tell.
“One of the first objects I collected as the curator of the House’s collection was a grapefruit-sized rubber-band ball,” she recalls.
“It was kept near the speaking lecterns,” she continues, “and while Members of Congress were waiting to speak, they would bounce the ball. Eventually this stress-busting activity was forbidden because the bouncing disrupted the proceedings.”
For Elliott, that ordinary rubber-band ball provides a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the history. “I love the way this object shows the public that their elected representatives are fallible human beings just like the rest of us, who might be nervous about public speaking.”
A history of art major at Bryn Mawr, Elliott curates a collection of thousands of artifacts. Her office is responsible for the acquisition and care of collection objects, processing of artifact loans, and services to members and staff.
“I feel very strongly that this is my calling, and I don’t think I would have found it if I had not been trained at Bryn Mawr to pursue it,” she says.
“When I was applying to college, I was most impressed by women who seemed hot on the heels of learning and becoming what they wanted to be, and I found them in great numbers at Bryn Mawr. Bryn Mawr taught me to pour my heart into intellectual endeavor.”