The Year of Arader

Donors to the Josephine Michell Arader Collection make 2013 a banner year

Prescott College AffiliationSupporter
ProgramNatural History Institute and Sam Hill Warehouse

Carefully crafted illustrations of plants, birds, and other creatures adorn the halls of the historic Sisters of Mercy building at 220 Grove Avenue. Conservation Biology students discuss the extinction of the passenger pigeon, once one of the most abundant birds in the world until the early 20th century. Art students catalog and help curate an exhibit of rare and valuable artifacts from the Age of Discovery. And members of the quad-city community gather to hear about “The Naturalist’s Way of Seeing” from faculty member, nature photographer, and naturalist Walt Anderson.

The entire Prescott College community, and the regional community beyond, have been and will continue to be touched by the Josephine Michell Arader Collection of natural history prints for many years to come.

It can easily be said that 2013 was “The Year of Arader.” Alumna Josephine Arader ’07 helped facilitate the loan of a $1.2 million collection of natural history prints from the 16th through 19th centuries to Prescott College. Although Josephine’s original letter suggesting we participate in her father Graham Arader’s “Educating the Next Generation” program arrived in 2011, it took almost a year to work out the details and take delivery of the 250-plus pieces. At this point more than 80 percent of the collection has been donated to the College, contributing to the enormous restricted gift income of $2,616,546 we experienced in the 2012-13 fiscal year.

“This art is a priceless educational resource,” says Natural History Institute Director and On-Campus Undergraduate faculty member Tom Fleischner. “Art students helped catalog the collection, humanities students are using certain pieces as writing prompts, and conservation biology classes have gained new perspectives on the history of conservation successes and failures in North America by close examination of a set of Audubon prints specially selected for this purpose.”

Vice President for Institutional Advancement Marjory Sente sees the collection as a unique opportunity for outreach. “This is the only collection of its kind in the entire Southwest,” Sente says. “Locally, Sharlot Hall, the Phippen, and the Smoki museums are all about the history and culture of people. The Natural History Institute, enhanced by the Arader collection, will fill a clear void and become the museum of our natural world.”

A special exhibit of the collection at the Prescott College Art Gallery at Sam Hill Warehouse and grand opening for the Natural History Institute took place at the beginning of November 2013. The Gallery and Institute will continue to co-curate the collection ongoing.