Pamela Jardine, respected curator and advocate for Native American art and culture, passed away on April 28, 2021 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.
Most recently, she helped revive one of Montclair Art Museum’s best kept secrets with the reinstallation of the Museum’s Rand Gallery, which included new acquisitions of up-and-coming indigenous artists. Last year, she curated the exhibit, Virgil Ortiz: Odyssey of the Venutian Soldiers, which the New York Times heralded as a “Don’t Miss” art show. This innovative show blended science fiction and folk art as an educational tool about the 1680 revolt when indigenous people in today’s New Mexico drove out the Spanish colonizers.
Previously, she played a leadership role at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (now called the Penn Museum). As the Keeper of the American Section and the Museum’s Assistant Director, she curated numerous major exhibits that toured the globe, including River of Gold: Precolumbian Treasures from Sitio Conte, which opened at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art. She had a special love of cloth materials, as demonstrated with her two shows, The Gift of Spiderwoman: Southwestern Textiles at the Penn Museum and The Silent Language of Guatemalan Textiles at the Arthur Ross Gallery in Philadelphia.
In the 1990s, Dr. Jardine oversaw all the Museum’s collections and produced numerous traveling exhibitions, including The Royal Tombs of Ur, and Pomo Indian Basket Weavers: Their Baskets and the Art Market. She was responsible for the reinstallation of several galleries, including the Greek and the Near Eastern Galleries. She worked closely with indigenous consultants on a long-term gallery installation that featured cultural perspectives of Native American peoples of the Southwest – the Hopi, Zuni, and Navajo. Posthumously, her work on the Blackfeet tribe will become an exhibit at the Penn Museum.
She was born Pamela Haberland on February 8, 1939, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Her father, John, was a surgeon and beloved family doctor, and her mother, Irene, was a spirited cultural force and co-founder of Edgewood Orchard Galleries in Fish Creek, Wisconsin. She attended Milwaukee Downer Seminary (now University School of Milwaukee), graduated from Scripps College, Claremont, CA, and earned her Masters and PhD in American Civilization from the University of Pennsylvania. She was a magnificent storyteller, gatherer of people, and kind spirit.
Pamela is survived by her daughter and daughter-in-law, Shelley Hearne and Kathleen Welch, of Johns Island, SC, and her daughter and son-in-law, Alexandra and Doug Jackson of Hillsborough, NJ, and her two grandchildren, Zoe and Ella Jackson, and sister, Anne Haberland Emerson and brother, PaulHaberland, both of Fish Creek, Wisconsin. Her husband, William Jardine II, is deceased, as are her former spouse, Robert Hearne, and late-in-life companion, Dr. G. Leonard Apfelbach.
The family is planning a celebration via Zoom and a burial service this summer at the Church of the Atonement in Fish Creek.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations can now be made to The American Indian College Fund in memory of Pamela Hearne Jardine or on the website collegefund.org