2022 Virtual Emerging Scholars Colloquium Features New Research

Jan 31, 2022

On January 24, 2022, the Decorative Arts Trust hosted a successful 6th Annual Colloquium for young scholars in the decorative arts field. 

The Emerging Scholars Colloquium was originally scheduled to be held in-person during our New York Antiques Weekend. When The Winter Show announced its postponement, the Trust moved the program online. A blessing in disguise, the swap encouraged nearly 200 participants to register for an opportunity to watch five lectures about new research by graduate students and young professionals, with a pay-what-you-can registration fee. 

The program began at 12:00 pm ET with opening remarks from Trust Executive Director Matthew A. Thurlow. Carrie Greif, the Trust’s Curator of Educational Programs, introduced the scholars, each of whom previously received support through the Trust’s Emerging Scholars Colloquium.

Elizabeth Fox, Henry Luce Curatorial Assistant at Worcester Art Museum, presented The Tie that Binds: Stitching Together Communities in a Baltimore Album Quilt. Elizabeth studied symbols of the Independent Order of Oddfellows on over 33 quilts, including E. C. Deckel’s 1848 Album Quilt at the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts (MESDA), which she studied as the recipient of the Trust’s William C. and Susan S. Mariner Fellowship for Emerging Museum Professionals. 

A Lois F. McNeil Fellow at the Winterthur Program in American Material Culture, University of Delaware, Jena Gilbert-Merrill investigated “The Possibilities of a Box”: Louise Brigham’s Box Furniture and the Making of Democratic Craft and Design. Jena shared the story of Louise Brigham’s 1910 book, Box Furniture: How To Make a Hundred Useful Articles for the Home, which instructed families with modest means how to make simple, modular furniture from repurposed packing crates. Jena received the Trust’s Marie Zimmermann Research Grant to assist with her examination of Brigham’s publication.

The Portrait Returned: Art, Enslavement, and Optical Instruments in the Chesapeake, 1750-1800 was the lecture topic of Michael Hartman, the Jonathan Little Cohen Associate Curator of American Art at Dartmouth College’s Hood Museum. Michael explained how tools such as spyglasses were used to monitor and intimidate enslaved individuals. He is planning a tour of plantation houses throughout the southeast this spring with support of a research grant from the Trust. 

Margaret Wood, who is pursuing her PhD in Decorative Arts and Design History at George Washington University, analyzed An Incessant and Engrossing Pursuit: Nancy Vincent McClelland, Wallpaper, and Historic Decoration. Margaret, a Trust research grant recipient, highlighted McClelland’s wallpaper designs, which are found at Morris Jumel Mansion and Brompton among other historic houses and are a reflection of the Colonial Revival era in which she worked.  

Xiaoyi Diana Yang from Bard Graduate Center examined Freedom of Brush and Spirit: Late-Ming Trade Ceramics and Their Creative Momoyama-Edo Japanese Consumers. Diana addressed Late-Ming (1600s-40s) porcelains used in Japanese tea gatherings, specifically blue and white porcelain called Kosometsuke and Shonzui ware, polychrome porcelain called Zhangzhou ware, and Hizen porcelain. Diana also received a research grant from the Trust.

When the lectures concluded, Daniel Ackermann, Chief Curator and Director of Collections, Research and Archaeology, Old Salem Museums and Gardens, led a question and answer session with the presenters. 

Watch the Colloquium recording below: 

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The Decorative Arts Trust thanks the generosity of sponsors the Wunsch Americana Foundation and Mr. & Mrs. Donald B. Ayres, III for making this Colloquium possible. We are also grateful to the presenters and all those who attended. Your registration proceeds benefit the Trust’s Emerging Scholars Program. 

The Trust’s calendar of events shows upcoming virtual and in-person programs. For updates about registration openings, sign up for our e-newsletter and follow us on Facebook and Instagram. The Trust is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and appreciates the support of members and donors who make programming like this possible. 

About The Decorative Arts Trust Bulletin

Formerly known as the "blog,” the Bulletin features new research and scholarship, travelogues, book reviews, and museum and gallery exhibitions. The Bulletin complements The Magazine of the Decorative Arts Trust, our biannual members publication.


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