The Michigan State University Museum’s current exhibition, Sympathetic Detail: R. F. Deckert and the Art of Natural History Illustration, displays only 23 of Deckert’s watercolors of snakes, toads, lizards, frogs, flowers, and birds. We’ve uploaded to Flickr those 23 images and 328 more! I hope you take a look at these enchanting images. Exhibition visitors … Continue reading R. F. Deckert’s Paintings: Now on Flickr!
Stephanie Palagyi, producer. Bridie McBride, director. https://youtu.be/nGfeJBX5pGM
Over a year ago I stumbled upon ten large portfolios containing watercolor paintings of snakes, toads, frogs, turtles, and birds in the Michigan State University Museum's collections. And now a relative handful of these images are on exhibition at the Museum! The artist was the German-born and largely self-taught Richard Frederick Deckert (1878-1971), who was … Continue reading Sympathetic Detail: R. F. Deckert and the Art of Natural History Illustration
The New Year brought with it a new job. I'm now Curator of History at the Michigan State University Museum. Two months into the job, and I'm already planning several exhibitions while familiarizing myself with the extensive collection. Total immersion: it's the only way! I was able to publish several articles despite a lengthy daily … Continue reading Playing Catch-Up
Here's my essay, for Connecticuthistory.org, on the problem of mercury poisoning among hatters in Danbury, Connecticut: http://connecticuthistory.org/ending-the-danbury-shakes-a-story-of-workers-rights-and-corporate-responsibility/ The Danbury Hatters case (Loewe v. Lawlor, 1908) was a staple in high school and college U.S. history textbooks throughout the twentieth century. But fewer and fewer college history textbooks including this landmark case. More's the pity, given … Continue reading Mad as a Hatter: The Danbury Shakes
The phrase, "the economy of makeshifts," is historian Olwen Hufton's. She employed it in The Poor of Eighteenth Century France 1750-1789 (1974) to describe the survival strategies of the poor in France before the Revolution. The phrase, as adopted by historians of England, shifted in its application to that country's working poor. As I work … Continue reading The Economy of Makeshifts
Last week, reporter Jill Cowan, of the Bakersfield Californian, contacted me to discuss the reasons why Americans shop for secondhand goods. I very much enjoyed our conversation and the article, but I was left with a nagging question: what do we mean when we label an object "vintage" or when we say that an object … Continue reading What, exactly, is “vintage”?