Discussion: Launching the Podcast “Shaping History: Women and Capitol Art”

On Monday June 8, the U.S. Capitol Historical Society and the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center present a noon EDT discussion to celebrate the launch of the podcast Shaping History: Women in Capitol Art. Join us and the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center team that produced this new 10-part series, Janet Clemens and Marcey Frutchey, as we discuss the podcast and its themes. Curator for the Architect of the Capitol Michele Cohen will also join us to discuss the Capitol’s statue collections.

Shaping History: Women in Capitol Art brings together a rich soundtrack featuring curators, historians, artists, descendants of honored subjects, and eyewitnesses, providing insight that will enhance every visitor’s Capitol experience. Taking their cue from the art itself, participants animate the stories behind the art, amplifying the meaning and larger context of numerous artworks, with a focus on the National Statuary Hall Collection.


Janet Clemens is the host of the Capitol Visitor Center’s first podcast series, Shaping History: Women in Capitol Art. She has been interpreting the art, architecture, and history of the Capitol for more than 10 years as a Visitor Guide, and has been contributing to visitor-focused programming at the Capitol Visitor Center since its opening. A public historian for nearly 20 years, Janet drew upon her background in museum education and public programming and her experience in historical research, narrative design, and public speaking for this project. She has an M.A. in Public Humanities from Brown University and was an undergraduate major in the Writing Seminars at The Johns Hopkins University.

Michele Cohen has served as the curator for the Architect of the Capitol since October 2015, where she oversees the Curator division and is responsible for the stewardship of heritage assets throughout the Capitol Campus. She earned her B.A. in Art History and English Literature from the State University of New York at Buffalo and a Ph.D. in Art History from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She began her career as the director of the sculpture inventory for the Public Design Commission of the City of New York. From 1989 to 2009 she served as the founding director of New York City’s Public Art for Public Schools program, where she managed acquisitions, conservation of art, and a collection inventory for hundreds of school buildings. More recently, she has been a college professor, independent curator, and public art consultant. Her publications include The Art Commission and Municipal Art Society Guide to Manhattan’s Outdoor Sculpture (Prentice Hall Press, 1988), Public Art for Public Schools (The Monacelli Press, 2009), chapters in The Decorated School: Essays on the Visual Culture of Schooling (Black Dog Publishing, 2013), Theresa Bernstein: A Century in Art (University of Nebraska Press, 2013) and a forthcoming chapter entitled “The Preservation Dilemma: Confronting Two Controversial Monuments from the United States Capitol,” for the anthology Teachable Monuments (Bloomsbury, 2020).

Marcey Frutchey has been the videographer at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center for the past three years. She produces video and multimedia projects, including the Shaping History: Women in Capitol Art podcast, highlighting the programs, activities, and talented staff of the Capitol Visitor Center. She is an award-winning independent filmmaker and graduate of the Peter Stark Producing Program at the University of Southern California.