Associate Professor of History, West Chester University
PhD, University of Delaware, August 2010
Program in the History of American Civilization, Department of History
Fields: 19th– and 20th--Century United States History, Material Culture, and Design History
Dissertation: “From Rags to Riches: Amish Quilts and the Crafting of Value”
Committee: Susan Strasser, chair, Bernard Herman, Katherine C. Grier, and Donald B. Kraybill
MA, University of Nebraska, 2003
Textile History, Museum Studies minor, Department of Textiles, Clothing & Design
Thesis Project: “At the Crossing: Midwestern Amish Crib Quilts and the Intersection of Cultures”
Goshen College, Goshen, IN, BA, May 1998
History, Women’s Studies minor
United States History & Culture, Digital History, Material Culture Studies, Consumer Culture Studies, Globalization, Business History, Design History, Oral History, and Public History.
- Trained cultural historian, with expertise in material, visual, and consumer culture.
- Experienced digital humanities practitioner able to convey content creatively through innovative technologies; producer of online exhibitions, web content, and social networking sites for cultural institutions.
- Curator with both museum studies training and hands-on skills in collections research, care, and management.
- Imaginative instructor at the college level, practiced in teaching with art, artifacts, and digital technologies in the classroom.
- Successful grant writer, with a record of raising funds for research and projects.
- Engaging writer for both general and academic audiences, in print and in digital formats.
- Dynamic and experienced public speaker.
- Innovative thinker able to make critical and timely decisions.
- Experienced team leader and team member, able to delegate and clearly communicate with associates.
- Enthusiastic champion of objects, stories, and ideas.
SELECTED AWARDS, GRANTS, & FELLOWSHIPS
- West Chester University, College of Arts and Humanities, Research and Creative Activities award for “Exploring Philadelphia Immigration through ‘Memory, Visuality, and Mobility,'” including attendance at Columbia University and the European University Institute’s summer oral history seminar, 2017.
- American Historical Association, Roy Rosenzweig Prize for Innovation in Digital History, for Goin’ North: Stories From the First Great Migration to Philadelphia, with Doug Boyd and Charles Hardy, 2016
- Oral History Association, Non-Print Format Award, for Goin’ North: Stories from the First Great Migration to Philadelphia, with Charles Hardy and Doug Boyd, 2015
- E. Riley Holman Memorial Faculty Award for innovative teaching, West Chester University, with Charles Hardy, 2015
- Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference, Herbert Finch Award, for Goin’ North: Stories from the First Great Migration to Philadelphia, with Charles Hardy, 2015
- West Chester University, Distance Education Initiative participant, 2014-15
- West Chester University, College of Arts and Sciences, Dean’s Initiative to Expand Access to Education, 2012
- Coby Foundation subvention grant for Amish Quilts: Crafting an American Icon, 2012
- Robert and Ardis James Foundation subvention grant for Amish Quilts: Crafting an American Icon, 2012
- University of Delaware Women’s Studies Dissertation Fellowship, 2009-10
- University of Delaware Dissertation Fellowship, 2009-10, declined
- James Renwick Predoctoral Fellowship in American Craft, Smithsonian Institution, January-June 2009
- McNeil Dissertation Fellowship, Winterthur Museum and Library, September-December 2008
- American Quilt Study Group Meredith Scholar Award, 2008-09
- International Quilt Study Center Visiting Scholar Fellowship, 2008-09
- University Graduate Fellowship, University of Delaware, 2008-09
- Alumni Award, for best seminar paper, Department of History, University of Delaware, 2006
- Grant from Robert and Ardis James Foundation to conduct research on the Henry Barber Collection of Amish quilts from Mifflin County, Pennsylvania, 2003-04
- University of Nebraska-Lincoln Graduate Research Assistant Award, 2003
- Nebraska Humanities Council grant for the International Quilt Study Center’s public programming and publication costs in conjunction with exhibition, “At the Crossing: Midwestern Amish Crib Quilts and the Intersection of Cultures,” 2003
“Unconventional Wisdom: The Myths and Quilts that Came Before,” in Roderick Kiracofe, Unconventional and Unexpected: American Quilts Below the Radar, 1950-2000 (New York: STC Craft, Melanie Falick Books, A Division of Abrams, 2014).
“Mennonite (Folk) Culture: A Response,” part of forum “Future Directions in Anabaptist-Mennonite Scholarship.” Mennonite Quarterly Review 81, 1 (January 2007): 125-130.
With Marin Hanson, “Quilts as Manifestations of Cross-Cultural Contact: The Amish–‘English’ and East-West Examples.” Uncoverings 24 (2004): 99-129.
Going West: Quilts and Community, by Roderick Kiracofe and Sandi Fox, book review in Great Plains Quarterly 29, 4(Fall 2009): 335-6.
Retro: The Culture of Revival, by Elizabeth E. Guffey, book review in Winterthur Portfolio 42, 1 (Spring 2008): 91-3.
“5th International Fiber Biennial,” exhibition review in Studio Art Quilt Associates Journal 16, 2 (Spring 2006): 18-19.
“Philadelphia’s Month of Fiber,” exhibition review in Fiberarts: The Magazine of Textiles, 31 (Sept/Oct 2004): 56-57.
SELECTED PRESENTATIONS, WORKSHOPS, & LECTURES
“Documentary Photography and the Nostalgia for Scrap Quilts,” American Studies Association annual meeting, Los Angeles, CA, November 2014.
Co-presenter, “Thinking Outside the Block: Drawing Inspiration from the IQSCM digital project, World Quilts: The American Story,” American Quilt Study Group annual seminar, study session, Milwaukee, WI, September 2014.
“Amish Quilts: Crafting an American Icon,” seminar. Amish America: Plain Technology in a Cyber World, Elizabethtown College, Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies, Elizabethtown, PA, June 2013.
“A Good Amish Quilt Folded Like Money,” University of Tokyo, invited lecture at the Center for Pacific and American Studies, May 2012.
“Exploring Digital Communities: ‘Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello,’” with Chad Wollerton. American Association of Museums, Technology, Interpretation, and Education 2011 Online Conference, September 2011.
“Material Religion: Making Objects, (Re)Making the Self,” panelist. Berkshire Conference on the History of Women, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, June 2011.
“Make Your Own Amish Quilt, Find Your Own Amish Self.” Material Culture, Craft & Community Conference, University of Alberta, May 2011.
“Outsourcing Authenticity: Factory-Made Quilts and the Question of Ethnicity.” American Historical Association, Presidential Panel, “Ethnicity and Authenticity: Re-Evaluating Iconic Quilts,” San Diego, January 2010.
“Gifts of Humility/ Objects of Pride,” Symposium, “Amish/American: Quilts in Context,” de Young Museum, San Francisco, December 2009.
“The Amish Brand: Businesses Making and Selling Quilts,” Hagley Museum & Library Center for History of Business, Technology, and Society Research Seminar, Wilmington, DE, November 2009.
“The Amish, Their Quilts, and the ‘Esprit Phenomenon,’” with Julie Silber, American Quilt Study Group Annual Seminar, Study Center, San Jose, CA, October 2009.
“The Smithsonian ‘Quilt Controversy’ Revisited,” Smithsonian National Museum of American History Tuesday Colloquium, June 2009.
“Amish Quilts and the People Who Love Them,” The Textile Museum, Washington, D.C. June 2009.
“Crafting Fashion: A Niche Market for Amish Quilts.” European Business History Association/ Business History Conference Joint Annual Meeting, “Fashions: Business Practices in Historical Perspective,” Bocconi University, Milan, Italy, June 2009.
“Amish Design: Making Art by Reviving Craft,” Fellows Lectures in American Art, Smithsonian American Art Museum, May 2009.
“‘A Good Amish Quilt Folded Like Money’: Negotiating Value in the City and the Country,” History Workshop for Technology, Society, and Culture, Department of History, University of Delaware, May 2009.
“‘Qui sont les Amish?’”: Europeans and the American-ness of Quilts.” International Quilt Study Center symposium, “The Global Quilt,” University of Nebraska-Lincoln, April 2009.
“‘It’s Fashionable to be Pennsylvania Dutch Today’: Disseminating Traditional Design in a Modern World,” Guest Lecture, International Quilt Study Center & Museum, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, September 2008.
“The Business of Amish Quilts.” Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies conference, “The Amish in America: New Identities and Diversities,” Elizabethtown College, Elizabethtown, PA, June 2007.
“Interviewing as Education.” International Quilt Study Center symposium, “Traditions and Trajectories: Education and the Quiltmaker,” University of Nebraska-Lincoln, March 2007.
“Crafting Traditions: The Production and Consumption of Southwestern Identities.” Penn Humanities Forum Graduate Conference on Travel, University of Pennsylvania, February 2007.
“Shopping for Nostalgia: The Creation of an Amish Quilt Capital.” The Alliance for American Quilts symposium, “Quilt History in the Making,” University of Delaware, November 2005.
“In the Dealer’s Footsteps: A Hunt for Quilt Documentation in Amish Country.” International Quilt Study Center symposium, “Collectors, Collecting, & Collections,” University of Nebraska-Lincoln, February 2005.
“Design Improvisation and Adaptation in Amish Crib Quilts.” International Quilt Study Center symposium, “Wild by Design,” University of Nebraska-Lincoln, February 2003.
DIGITAL HUMANITIES, CURATORIAL, & ADMINISTRATIVE EXPERIENCE
Consulting Curator, International Quilt Study Center & Museum, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, January 2012-present. Providing leadership to exhibition committee developing online exhibition synthesizing the history of quiltmaking in North America and Europe targeted at diverse public audiences. Manage schedule, facilitate focus group sessions with key stakeholders, develop and implement content strategy, design information architecture and user experience, and create content.
Content Specialist, Night Kitchen Interactive, Philadelphia, PA, 2010-2012. Organize and create content for museums’ and cultural institutions’ interactive websites and exhibitions. Clients include the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, the National Museum of the American Indian, the Smithsonian Institution Archives, the National Museum of American History, the SFMOMA, the Philadelphia History Museum, and the Office of the Historian of the U.S. House of Representatives. Conduct research and provide quality assurance to projects. Facilitate the production of social media content by client staff members. Manage content in open source content management system, Drupal. Develop and write proposals for new projects.
Online Exhibition Curator, “Beyond Diamonds and Bars: The Cultural Production of Amish Quilts,” Summer 2011, The Quilt Index, a joint project of the Quilt Alliance, Michigan State University Museum, and MATRIX: Center for Humane Arts, Letters, and Social Science Online.
Board Member, Quilt Alliance, 2005-present. Leadership position in national non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the stories of American quiltmakers through digitally archived oral history interviews, web documentaries, and a nationally recognized online repository of over 50,000 digital records of privately and publicly owned quilts. Currently serve as board Secretary and co-chair of Quilters’ S.O.S. – Save Our Stories, an oral history project which captures the voices and stories of quiltmakers, digitally archiving transcripts and images on the project’s website.
Academic Programs Assistant, Winterthur Museum, Winterthur, DE, Summer 2006. Performed various administrative duties including coordinating book reviews for Winterthur Portfolio, a journal of American material cultural. Developed website and publicity materials for Winterthur’s Research Fellowship Program.
Graduate Research Assistant for Academic Programs, Winterthur Museum, Winterthur, DE, 2005-06. Helped administer Research Fellowship Program by managing the receipt of fellowship applications, developing a database of past fellows, and performing additional administrative tasks as needed. Assisted in day-to-day operations of Winterthur Portfolio, including maintaining a spreadsheet of articles and book reviews; corresponding with peer reviewers, authors, and book reviewers; and organizing and maintaining files. Assisted Professor of Decorative Arts in teaching Connoisseurship course to Masters students by selecting objects from Winterthur’s collections, planning course readings, grading, and managing field trips.
Exhibition Curator, “Amish Crib Quilts,” January 2005. Curated exhibition of 26 quilts from private collection of Amish crib quilts as part of Iowa Mennonite School’s quarterly arts series.
Exhibition Curator, “At the Crossing: Midwestern Amish Crib Quilts and the Intersection of Cultures,” 2003-04. International Quilt Study Center exhibition hosted by the Great Plains Art Collection, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; also traveled to People’s Place Quilt Museum, Intercourse, Pennsylvania; University of Rhode Island; Goshen College, Goshen, Indiana; and South Korea. Curated four rotations of the exhibit featuring a total of 90 quilts; traveled to host sites to unpack and install exhibitions.
Graduate Curatorial Assistant, International Quilt Study Center, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2001-03. Conducted research, selected and prepared quilts for exhibition, curated eight two-month long mini-exhibits, maintained state-of-the-art storage facility, supervised volunteers, conducted object surveys and condition reports, accessioned objects, mounted exhibitions, conducted guided tours, and assisted curator and director as needed by performing various ongoing tasks in connection with the IQSC collection of over 1650 quilts.
Consultant, Amish and Mennonite Museum, Goshen College, Goshen, IN, May 2002. Prepared quilts for and mounted exhibition, “Friendship Quilts and Family Records.” Wrote catalog descriptions for and digitally photographed quilts, hooked rugs, woven coverlets, and related textiles in museum collection. Implemented improved storage system for textiles.
Camper, THATCamp (The Humanities and Technology Camp), 2011, 2012
Member, 2010 Responsible Conduct in Research Training Graduate Student Committee, University of Delaware
Peer Reviewer, Winterthur Portfolio, Great Plains Quarterly
Co-Chair (2006), member (2005, 2007, 2008) Material Culture Symposium for Emerging Scholars planning committee, Center for Material Culture Studies, University of Delaware
Co-editor, Humanities and Social Sciences (H-Net) H-Quilts listserve, 2005-present