Introducing Maureen Marton

Maureen Marton, the 2015-2017 Decorative Arts Trust Curatorial Intern
Maureen Marton, the 2015-2017 Decorative Arts Trust Curatorial Intern

The Trust is happy to announce that, in December 2015, Maureen Marton began a two-year tour as the Decorative Arts Trust Intern at the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute in Utica, NY.

An alumna of Hood College and the Smithsonian-George Mason University program in the History of Decorative Arts, Maureen has maintained a lifelong interest in the decorative arts that started with textiles. “I come from a huge quilting family,” she says. In her undergraduate studies she majored in art with a concentration in archaeology and a minor in classical studies to explore the cultures of the ancient world.

In graduate school, she realized she was more interested in the 19th– and 20th-century responses to the classical world and how those responses translated to what people wore and how they furnished their homes. At GMU she focused on 20th-century textile history and American textile design but points out that she was exposed to many cultures, time periods, and subfields in graduate school. Alerted of the Trust-sponsored job posting by a professor, she applied.

Her interest in 20th-century topics will serve her well for her major internship project, a forthcoming MWPAI Exhibit titled “Roaring Into the Future,” which focuses on New York-based art and design from 1925 through 1935. One of the first tasks for this project was a research trip to Rochester Historical Society to examine their 20th Century costume collection, one of the largest in Central New York, that included some items she had even studied in graduate school! “As for location,” she said, “the costume storage was actually in an old department store in downtown Rochester named Sibley’s. The five story department store looked like it was the place to shop and be seen during its hey day of operation.”

Of course, no curator ever has just one thing on her plate. Maureen’s other tasks will range from writing content for public programs, better incorporating the MWPAI’s phenomenal decorative arts holdings into the galleries, and the ever-present task of  cataloging the permanent collection. In fact, she’s already gotten started on the last part, and is slowly making her way through the institution’s vast collection of 19th-century Aesthetic movement doorknobs. While the subject is a bit esoteric, Maureen said the exercise provides good practice with the TMS database software used at MWPAI.

Like all good dec arts enthusiasts, we asked Maureen about her favorite object in the collection thus far. When she first toured the MWPAI, Maureen was immediately captivated by a tilt-top table, designed by Frank Shaw for Tiffany & Company and exhibited at the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Made of electroplated silver on copper, the table combines an antique form with the most modern manufacturing techniques of its day, a combination that reflects Maureen’s own background and interests.

Maureen in MWPAI collections storage.
Maureen in MWPAI collections storage.

We look forward to hearing updates about Maureen’s findings, and Maureen will contribute an article to the June issue of the Decorative Arts Trust Magazine.

The Decorative Arts Trust is incredibly grateful for the many generous donations from its members to the Trust’s Education Fund, which supports these curatorial internships for recent Masters and PhD graduates. The program has underwritten positions for six interns at five institutions since its creation in 2010 (you can learn more about the creation of the program  and our past partners here).

The Trust is also accepting applications for partner institutions for the 2016-2018 Curatorial Internship Grant, which are due by March 18. Inquiries may be made to our office at (610) 627-4970, or thetrust@decorativeartstrust.org.

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