Transatlantic Perspectives in American and German Art History: The Darmstadt Mastodon, 1800-present day
International Symposium

Hosted by the Hessisches Landesmuseum Darmstadt Tuesday, June 14th 2022, 10:30-19 Uhr

Peale’s Mastodon, Mammut Americanum, 1801
Peale’s Mastodon, Mammut Americanum, 1801

Organized by the Architecture and Art History department at the Technical University of Darmstadt, this symposium celebrates the current special exhibition at the Hessisches Landesmuseum Darmstadt, “American Heiner: A Mammut is making history” (open until June 19). With loans of paintings, prints and drawings from American art museums that rarely travel abroad, this is an extraordinary opportunity to see how the Mastodon skeleton, discovered in 1801 by American artist and museum director Charles Willson Peale, influenced art, science, and culture in the United States. The Mastodon has been a key object in the collection of the Hessisches Landesmuseum since the late 19th century.

Speakers include Dr. Anna O. Marley, Curator of Historical American Art at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts; Dr. Eleanor Jones Harvey, Senior Curator at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C.; Dr. Oliver Sandrock, Curator of Earth and Life History at the Hessisches Landesmuseum; Dr. Allison M. Stagg, Research Associate in Art History at the Technical University of Darmstadt; and Dr. Martin Faass, Director of the Hessisches Landesmuseum.

In addition to afternoon lectures, speakers will give focused object-based tours of the exhibition in a special morning session.

Symposium schedule:

Tuesday, 14 June

Morning session: „American Heiner“ exhibition

  • 10:30-11: Registration in Main Hall; coffee and light breakfast buffet in the Lecture Hall
  • 11-11:15 Welcome: Allison Stagg // Martin Faass, in Lecture Hall
  • 11:15-12:30pm: Tours of exhibition with Oliver Sandrock // Anna O. Marley // Eleanor Harvey

Lunch Break:

  • 12:30pm-2pm: Lunch for all participants at the Landemuseum cafe, Herzblut und Zinke

Afternoon Session: Lecture Hall

  • 2pm: Welcome: Dr. Manfred Efinger, Vice President, TU Darmstadt // Christiane Salge, Professor of Architecture and Art History & Dean of Faculty of Architecture, TU Darmstadt
  • 2:10-2:30pm: Introduction: Allison Stagg

First Session:

  • 2:30-3pm Martin Faass: „American Heiner: Genesis of an exhibition“
  • 3:00-3:45pm Anna O. Marley, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts: „Charles Wilson Peale and the Athens of America: Philadelphia, Art, and Science in the Early American Republic“
  • 3:45-4:15 coffee break

Second Session:

  • 4:15-5:00pm: Oliver Sandrock, Hessisches Landesmuseum: „New – Old – Lost World“
  • 5:00-5:45pm Eleanor Harvey, Smithsonian American Art Museum: „Mammoth Ambitions: How Peale's Mastodon became a national icon and exhibition centerpiece“
  • 5:45pm-6:15pm Roundtable with all speakers
  • 6:30-8pm. Evening Reception in Main Hall & „American Heiner“ exhibition open

Booking is required: please email to register by Friday, June 10th.

There is no fee to attend the event.

Travel stipends
Through the generosity of the Terra Foundation for American Art, a limited number of travel stipends are available for attendees located outside the Rhein Main area. When registering, please comment if you would like to be considered.


This symposium is made possible through support from the