I am Assistant Professor of History at West Chester University where I specialize in digital history, public history, and American material culture. Recently, I authored Amish Quilts: Crafting an American Icon (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013), and I lecture and write widely on the topic of quilts for both popular and academic audiences. I guest curated the exhibit, Amish Quilts and the Crafting of Diverse Traditions at the International Quilt Study Center & Museum at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, running Oct 2016-Jan 2017.
In addition to focusing on the seemingly old-fashioned world of quilts, I think and work digitally, especially in the classroom. My course, The Great Migration and Digital Storytelling, which I co-taught with Charles Hardy, resulted in Goin’ North: Stories from the First Great Migration to Philadelphia, which won the Oral History Association’s award for best project in a non-print format in 2015 and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference’s C. Herbert Finch Award. We also were honored, along with our partner Doug Boyd, with the Roy Rozenzweig Award for Innovation in Digital History from the American Historical Association. Four of our talented students also received the Student Research and Creativity Award from WCU, and Hardy and I received the Holman Award for innovation in teaching. I regularly integrate technology and the humanities in the college classroom, working with my students to create websites, blogs, podcasts, digital archives, and online exhibitions. I also present workshops on digital tools and strategies, including on collaborating with Zotero, curating oral histories, and reusing content through free and low-cost digital tools.
Prior to joining WCU’s faculty, I honed my digital skills as content specialist at Night Kitchen Interactive, a firm specializing in websites and digital projects for museums and cultural organizations, where I worked on projects for institutions including Monticello, the National Museum of the American Indian, and the Historian of the U.S. House of Representatives.
I’ve also been able to combine my worlds of quilts and digital history, serving as co-curator and lead content strategist and editor for World Quilts: The American Story, a project of the International Quilt Study Center & Museum at the University of Nebraska—Lincoln. I also work closely on the digital projects of the Quilt Alliance, a national non-profit dedicated to documenting, preserving, and sharing the stories of quilts and quiltmakers. I have served as a board member of the Quilt Alliance since 2005, and am its current president.