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Kathleen A. Curran
Trinity College, Hartford (Hartford, CT 06106-3100)
Craft and Culture on Display: The American Art Museum, 1870-1940

Between 1870 and 1940, American art museums underwent a transformation from “craft museums,” where objects were organized according to material and technique, to places dedicated to the preservation and display of national cultures. The 19th-century world’s fairs influenced the craft ethos of museums early on. Beginning around 1900, however, administrators grew interested in the new cultural history displays installed in art, local history, and craft museums in Germany and Switzerland, which placed works of art in their historical contexts. Taking the form of “period rooms” and “period settings,” these revolutionary installations were critical to the current identity of art museums as safekeepers of national cultures.

Project fields:
Art History and Criticism

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

$5,000 (approved)
$5,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2005 – 8/31/2005