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Wooden marionette wearing dress and tiara

Object Details

Artist
William N. Buckner
Medium
paper-mâché, wood, synthetic fabric, plastic buttons, plastic beads, paint, wire, jute fiber, nails, metal
Dimensions
Puppet: 24 7/16 × 6 5/16 × 3 3/4 in. (62 × 16 × 9.5 cm)
From first controller to feet of puppet: 47 5/8 in. (121 cm)
Caption
Made by artist and art educator William N. Buckner, Jr. (1888-1984), this marionette embodies the legacy of African American educators in Washington, DC’s segregated public schools from the late nineteenth through mid-twentieth centuries. Bucker attended the renowned M Street High School, where he excelled at woodworking and developed a love of art that he explored throughout his life in forms ranging from painting to puppetry. His instructors included art educator Thomas W. Hunster (1851-1929), who designed a multidisciplinary arts curriculum for all grade levels of the District’s African American public schools.
Like Professor Hunster, Buckner became a teacher (and later a counselor and principal), who empowered students through a rigorous blend of hands-on learning and traditional academics, such as when his carpentry students laid a new floor at the O Street Vocational School in 1915, a first in the public schools. As the project progressed, pupils worked out problems in class. In 1936, his Armstrong Vocational High School students performed a puppet show written by student Serena Randall in consultation with historian Carter G. Woodson, who taught at M Street before receiving his Ph.D. from Harvard.
While the marionette’s identity is unknown, she recalls another mentor, M Street Principal Anna J. Cooper, one of the first African American women to earn a four-year college degree and the first to earn a Ph.D. from the Sorbonne. The marionettes were on display at the Anacostia Community Museum’s exhibition honoring Dr. Cooper from February 1981 through September 1982.
Accession Number
2011.1008.0003
Type
puppet
See more items in
Anacostia Community Museum Collection
Data Source
Anacostia Community Museum
Restrictions & Rights
CC0
GUID
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/dl87de4b992-709a-475c-945a-9d8312582bc3
Record ID
acm_2011.1008.0003
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