Katharine W. Fernstrom holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology, specializing in Archaeology, from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. She specializes in Native American and Pacific Island art, material culture, trade, and communication.

She has done archaeological field work in the American Southwest, Midwest, and in Maryland. She was on the curatorial staff of the Baltimore Museum of Art for thirteen years, in charge of the American Indian and Pacific Island collections. Her current research examines Native American art and archaeology as communications entwined with colonialism. Her projects include twentieth- to twenty-first-century Inuit art of culture change by the late Myra Kukiiyaut of Baker Lake, Nunavut, Canada; pre-Contact Native American human figures in diverse media, and having diverse roles, within and between Native communities. She is working on a study of Tiffany & Co.’s use of American Indian design and archaeological politics in late nineteenth and early twentieth century International Expositions, as elements of American National identity. She is composing a book proposal about prehistoric, historic, and contemporary American murals, and she is interested in the arts of colonial cemeteries. She is a Board Member of the Archaeology Society of Maryland and serves on committees for the Society for American Archaeology.