Date of Award

May 2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Bettina Arnold

Committee Members

Patricia Richards, Derek Counts


Gender, German, Race, Schultafeln, Schulwandbilder, WPA Art


The goal of this thesis was to systematically examine and compare the themes and styles present in the Works Progress Administration (WPA) paintings housed in the Milwaukee Public Museum to a selection of National Socialist Schultafeln in Germany. The research conducted on the WPA paintings concentrated on pieces from the A.O. Tiemann collection and other works by painters who emigrated from Germany in the early 20th century or were of German descent. This was further narrowed to an in-depth analysis of pieces that depict lake dwelling sites of the European Neolithic and Bronze Ages in both US Museums and selected National Socialist Schultafel contexts. The lake dwelling scenes were categorized by type of depiction (such as domestic or hunting scenes), type of artifact depicted, the gender of depicted individuals and their respective numbers, their aesthetic representation and their staging within the image. A gender theory and historiographic approach was applied to this qualitative comparative analysis of the American and National Socialist representations. Patterns and tropes in 1930s representations of gender roles and race in the archaeological record were identified and discussed in light of additional textual evidence.