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Craft History in the Archives: Craft Workers at the Art Museum

Resource guide for American craft historical documentation in the Museum Archives.

Chronology of Craft Workers

Many skilled artisans and craftspeople have worked at the Museum through the years. A snapshot of these workers include:


The Saint Louis School and Museum of Fine Arts provided night classes in technical arts, including bookbinding, ceramic decoration, drafting, and pottery. Cordelia Baker taught beginner and advanced courses in bookbinding. 


The Education Department hosted artists in galleries for live demonstrations. Ceramist Florence French Holm participated in pottery demonstrations for students. 


As part of the Works Projects Administration (WPA), draftsman produced charts and technical drawings for the Educational and Curatorial Departments. Employment spanned from September 19, 1938 through 1943.

For the Richardson Memorial Library, the Crafts Division of the WPA constructed twelve 10 x 14 walnut-faced drawers for the artist-subject files.

Under the direction of the Education Department, local technical high school students constructed exhibition casework for traveling exhibitions and lantern slide carrying cases for lectures. 


The Auditorium stage transformed into a workshop for a "Making A Chippendale Chair" program. This event showcased the work of four local craftspeople: Frank Zanin (journeyman cabinet maker), Anton Chernich (wood carver; Museum Cabinet Maker), Floyd Cook (finisher), Jack Paulus (upholsterer) with George Wilson officiating.


Starting in January 1981, the Junior League of the Saint Louis Art Museum developed Art Access educational kits of touchable objects for outreach. The Teachers Resources Center eventually took over the creation and circulation of touch kits to schools. The kit for American Folk Art included a quilting square, painted tin tray, woodcarving, and pottery samples. 


Morton "Morty" Deutch volunteered as a bookbinder in the Richardson Memorial Library.

The Cabinet Shop / Cabinetry Department


The Cabinet Shop has benefited from the work of talented carpenters and woodworkers, who have historically restored objects, built casework, and assisted with exhibition design. The award-winning Cabinetry Department of four cabinetmakers completed a reinstallation of four American period rooms in 1989 (previously dissembled in 1974).

  • Ben Swartz, Cabinet Maker (1930-May 1, 1952), responsibilities included object restoration
  • Anton Chernich, Cabinet Maker (1954-February 1966), responsibilities included object restoration
  • Peter Wilhelm, Chief Cabinetmaker (-1979)
  • Walter Gleiber, Cabinetmaker (-1982)
  • Bernard Whitley, Cabinetmaker (1980)
  • Doug Boals, Cabinetmaker (1985-1989)
  • Dave Jokerst, Cabinetmaker (-2008)
  • Emil Maceg, Cabinetmaker
  • Thomas Gleason, Cabinetmaker (1961-1991), constructed and installed over 100 special exhibitions, assisted in renovations of l970s and late 1980s
  • Jeff Wamhoff, Cabinetmaker (-1984), Chief Cabinetmaker (1984-1993), Installation Designer / Chief Cabinetmaker (1993-2007) led the reinstallation of the period rooms in the late 1980s
  • Timothy Kelly, Cabinetmaker (1993-2016)
  • Vic Kelly, Cabinetmaker (1993-1999)
  • Gerard McFarland, Cabinetmaker (2011-2012), Fabrication Manager (2017-Present)

Cabinetmakers Thomas Gleason and Peter Wilhelm in the Workshop, 1978

Cabinetmakers Thomas Gleason (left) and Peter Wilhelm (right) in the Workshop, 1978,

Slide Collection, Museum Archives, Saint Louis Art Museum.