Research

My research is anchored in three areas.

Undergirding all of my research and practice is my keen interest in excavating and critiquing histories and functions of museums, primarily in the U.S., as part of the process of understanding constructions of knowledge via collections—specifically museums and historic sites, cabinets of curiosity, museum computing, and museum tech.

A second trajectory is monuments, memorials, and public memory in the U.S., which is related to my acute studies of singular monuments, for instance, the Confederate Monument (formerly in Louisville, KY) and the representation and identity laid bare through monuments and memorials in public spaces throughout the U.S. This research and scholarship are based in my position as Conservation Program Manager for the city of Cleveland from 1998-2002 and my early professional work in public art and public sculpture as part of public history practice. Combining theory and praxis, this facet of research led me to investigate particular sites throughout Kentucky and, specifically, the life and work of Enid Yandell (1869-1934) who was commissioned to create the monument to Kentucky’s Civil War dead in Louisville in 1894. With this subject of monuments, memorials, and public memory, I also take the macro view, developing a typology of monuments and memorials and launching a crowdsourced initiative to document monuments and memorials in the U.S. https://monuments.us.org/.

Third, I research, develop, and apply museum technologies to visitor experiences, particularly related to authenticity, museum interpretation, and visitor engagement. For this, I am currently collaborating with an interdisciplinary team to utilize AR/VR as lenses for authenticity and enhanced experiences.

My scholarship reflects these three broad areas noted above; on occasion, areas overlap. For instance, in my revision to Museums in Motion: An Introduction to the History and Functions of Museums (2017), I was able to extend the trajectory established by Edward Alexander and Mary Alexander and bring into focus the areas of technology, engagement, and authenticity for this 3rd edition. My research on monuments, memorials, and public memory is anchored in data as well as contemporary practices that contribute to our 21st-century constructions of knowledge, relative to these sites which may be conceived, in some ways, as outdoor cabinets of curiosity.

In addition, my scholarship includes processes and reflections on pedagogy. My teaching directly aligns with the three aforementioned areas of research and scholarship in museum studies, public history, and digital practices.

Working under the direction of Dr. Stephen McBride during a field study of the
Sutler House at Camp Nelson near Lexington, KY with students from Georgetown College, KY, 2013.
The hands attached to these mannequins were 3-d printed at RIT. This project was devised as a collaboration between the university and Genesee Country Village & Museum. This multidisciplinary initiative was led by one of my students, Landyn Hatch, who successfully printed 30 pairs of hands in 2018-19. These are now on view in the Wehle Gallery at the museum.
Completing final research for monograph on Enid Yandell in the Reading Room at the Filson Historical Society, July 21, 2017.
Lecturing onsite at Malmö Castle, Sweden in Summer 2015.

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