Author: Sara Long

Watch Scholar Videos About Antebellum Charleston, Edgefield Pottery, Maryland’s Governor’s Mansion, and New York Jacquard Coverlets

At the Decorative Arts Trust, we’re passionate about sharing new research and scholarship with decorative arts enthusiasts. Please enjoy these lecture recordings from emerging scholars from recent educational programs and events.  

“Her Fingers O’er this Canvas Move”: Unraveling the Threads of Race, Class, and Female Education in Antebellum Charleston
Alexandra Cade 
Colonial Williamsburg McNamara Young Scholar Lectures at the Antiques Forum, February 2019

MESDA’s Edgefield Bowl: The Black and White Landscape of the B.F. Landrum Pottery Site
Katherine C. Hughes 
Colonial Williamsburg McNamara Young Scholar Lectures at the Antiques Forum, February 2019

Seized Possessions: Reconstructing Maryland’s First Governor’s Mansion
Michelle Fitzgerald 
Decorative Arts Trust Spring 2019 Symposium in Annapolis, MD

Women, Weavers & Jacquard Coverlets in New York State
Britney Schline Yatrakis
Decorative Arts Trust Spring 2018 Symposium in Upper Hudson

Visit our Youtube channel for more videos about the decorative arts and material culture. 

If these decorative arts subjects interested you, we encourage you to learn more about our Emerging Scholars Program, upcoming events, and the benefits of Trust membership

Announcing the New Decorative Arts Trust Prize for Excellence and Innovation

To further the Decorative Arts Trust’s mission to promote and foster the appreciation and study of the arts, the Trust has established a Prize for Excellence and Innovation to be awarded annually beginning in 2020. The inaugural prize will be for $100,000 to a scholarly endeavor undertaken by a non-profit organization, such as museum exhibitions, print and digital publications, and online databases. Projects for consideration must advance the public’s appreciation of decorative arts, fine arts, architecture, or landscape design.

All images courtesy of Old Salem and the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts.

The Trust invites applicants to submit nominations and self-nominations through March 31, 2020, which should stipulate the defined mission and outcomes of the project as well as include a budget, project timeline, and list of key personnel and partners, if applicable. Projects can extend 1–5 years for final completion after the prize is awarded, but no longer. Collaborative endeavors that unite multiple institutions will also receive consideration.

The Trust’s selection committee aims to recognize impactful and original projects that advance the field while reaching a broad audience. Finalists will be notified by June 1, and the committee plans to announce the inaugural recipient on September 1. A fall celebration is planned to recognize the honoree.

The Trust’s Executive Director Matthew A. Thurlow believes “this new award will advance the work of our talented mid- and late-career colleagues as a complement to our efforts to support young scholars through the Emerging Scholars Program. Thanks to the generosity of three lead donors, we are making a long-term commitment to furthering innovative scholarship in the arts while reinforcing the Trust’s mission and promoting our broader programs. We look forward to celebrating exceptional endeavors in the arts.”

The Trust is thrilled to embark on this initiative. We welcome additional contributions to endow the Prize, including appreciated securities and IRA and other retirement fund disbursements. 

All images courtesy of Old Salem and the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts.

Decorative Arts Trust Board of Governors Thanks Reed, Hardy, and Brockway, Welcomes Buchanan and May

The beginning of a new year signals a changing of the guard at the Decorative Arts Trust. As our Board of Governors begins its 2020 transition, we are taking this time to thank three longtime leaders and to welcome two new leaders to our fold.

Helen Scott Reed

Helen Scott Reed

Helen Scott Reed has been a prominent fixture at the Trust for almost 40 years. Helen Scott was a driving force behind the creation of the Study Trip Abroad program in the 1990s and has led dozens of programs across Europe with our members. She served as the Board’s Treasurer for three years and Secretary for eight years. We wish Helen all the best, and we know we’ll see her on our travels! 

James J. Hardy

James J. Hardy

Dr. James J. Hardy was appointed to the Board in 2007 and has served as Treasurer since 2017. Jim and his wife, Mig, have been active members, participating in numerous domestic and international programs. Jim recently opened James Hardy Design, Inc. and is transitioning from a medical practice to an interior design studio.

Lucinda A. Brockway

Lucinda A. Brockway

The Board thanks outgoing Governor Cindy Brockway, who joined the Trust in 2012 and became a Governor in 2014. She currently serves as the Cultural Resources Program Director for The Trustees of Reservations, where she has been responsible for cultural landscapes and other cultural resources throughout Trustees’ 25,000 acres and 107 properties across Massachusetts. She was especially instrumental in facilitating the events of the Fall 2019 Symposium in the Berkshires.

Mel Buchanan

Mel Buchanan

New Board Governor Mel Buchanan is the RosaMary Curator of Decorative Arts and Design at New Orleans Museum of Art. She studied at Yale University and the University of Delaware’s Winterthur Program in Early American Culture and has held roles at the Milwaukee Art Museum and the Rhode Island School of Design. We’re looking forward to working with Mel on many upcoming decorative arts projects.

Gregory May

Gregory May

We welcome Gregory May to the Board as well. May is an internationally-known tax expert who brings a fresh and vigorous perspective to American financial history. After working as a Supreme Court law clerk, Greg practiced law in Washington, DC, and New York for thirty years. He is a graduate of the College of William and Mary and Harvard Law School. He has spent decades of working on historic preservation, and his knowledge of finance, history, and material culture will be an asset to the Trust.

Thank you these and all of the other leaders on our Board of Governors who have dedicated their time to guiding the Decorative Arts Trust.

Failey Grant Awarded to American Swedish Historical Museum

The Failey Grant program provides support for noteworthy research, exhibition, publication, and conservation projects through the Dean F. Failey Fund, named in honor of the Trust’s late Governor. Preference is given to projects that employ or are led by young professionals in the museum field. The Committee is pleased to announce that the level of funding for 2020 was increased to $10,000.

Dean F. Failey and Marie Failey
Dean F. Failey and Marie Failey

The Decorative Arts Trust has named the American Swedish Historical Museum in Philadelphia, PA, as the recipient of the 2020 Failey Grant. In 2021, the American Swedish Historical Museum will mount the exhibition American by Craft: The Art Furniture of Olaf Althin, which presents the career of a largely forgotten immigrant cabinetmaker. 

Working in Boston at the turn of the 20th century, Althin was an influential figure in the nascent American antiques trade. Curator Trevor Brandt is serving as project lead, assisted by Erica Lome, a doctoral candidate in the American Civilization Program at the University of Delaware and a past recipient of a Summer Research Grant from the Trust. 

Lome learned of Althin’s impressive career during her dissertation research, and the curatorial team has reconstructed his story while locating furniture made by him and tools, papers, photographs, and drawings to contextualize his oeuvre. His impressive list of patrons included H. Eugene Bolles, Henry Davis Sleeper, and John Wanamaker. The ASHM’s show will juxtapose Althin’s Scandinavian craft background against the American Arts & Crafts and Colonial Revival movements. The Decorative Arts Trust is excited to be a part of this inspiring exhibit. 

The Failey Grant is part of the Decorative Arts Trust’s Emerging Scholars Program, which supports a robust system of grants, scholarships, lectures, and internships.  Thank you to all of the members and donors who support our mission to encourage the next generation of museum curators and decorative arts historians.  

Concord Museum Awarded Curatorial Internship Grant

The Decorative Arts Trust is pleased to announce our partner for the 2020-2022 Curatorial Internship Grant: the Concord Museum in Concord, MA. 

About the Grant 

The Trust underwrites curatorial internships for recent Masters or PhD graduates in collaboration with museums and historical societies. Through a matching-grant program, these internships allow host organizations to hire a deserving professional who will learn about the responsibilities and duties common to the curatorial field while working alongside a talented mentor. The Trust’s internship program seeks to provide mutually beneficial opportunities that will nurture the next generation of museum curators while providing essential staffing for the host. Deadlines for the two-year grants are annually on September 30. 

About this Curatorial Internship Opportunity 

The Concord Museum is embarking on a two and a half year effort to redesign their 14 permanent galleries. Called Concord: At the Center of Revolution, the newly renovated 6,000-square-foot permanent exhibition is set to reimagine the Museum experience. The project will begin by focusing on three galleries related to Concord’s role in the political revolution of 1775. Phase Two will focus on the Transcendentalist period leading up to the Civil War as well as four decorative arts galleries. 

The curatorial intern will serve as the assistant project manager for this exciting undertaking and will be involved will all levels of the project, including selection of artifacts, facilitating conservation, meeting with design partners, installation, writing, editing, developing operation manuals for media elements, and analyzing the visitor experience. The intern selected will work under the direction and mentorship of the Concord Museum’s curator, David Wood, and will be an essential member of the exhibition team. 

The Concord Museum will open applications for this internship soon. Visit the Concord Museum’s website for updates or to sign up for their email list. Also look out for social media posts on the Concord Museum Facebook and Twitter pages and the Decorative Arts Trust’s Facebook and Twitter pages. 

About the Concord Museum

At the Concord Museum, Concord’s remarkable past is brought to life through an inspiring collection of historical, literary, and decorative arts treasures. Highlights of the over 50,000 artifacts include Ralph Waldo Emerson’s study, Henry David Thoreau’s desk, Louisa May Alcott’s tea kettle, a Paul Revere lantern, a Paleoindian spearhead, the most complete collection of Concord clocks anywhere, and more.