On Thursday, April 7, Katherine Ott, curator at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, will deliver an online talk titled “Disability Things, History, and Mental Health” via the Connecticut Historical Society.
The event description says: “Humans come in many varieties—size, gender, intellect, skin color, communication style… Why has it been such a struggle to embrace the differences? Using objects from history as a guide, this talk examines some of the ways disability has collided with assumptions about how to be human.”
Ott’s free online talk is scheduled to begin at 7:00 pm. Sign up for this event through this webpage.
The 2021 Dublin Seminar for New England Folklife addressed the topic of “Living with Disabilities in New England, 1630-1930.” Review that program of presentations here. Our team is editing papers from that conference into one of our upcoming Proceedings volumes.
Our 2022 conference topic “Tools and Toolmaking in New England” isn’t just about axes and sledgehammers and anvils—tools traditionally used by men. It’s equally about darning needles and flour sifters and hot-water bottles—tools more associated with women, and just as demanding of technology and skill.
Through May 1, people can appreciate what tools like needles and scissors could produce in skilled hands at the Florence Griswold Museum’s exhibit “New London County Quilts & Bed Covers, 1750‒1825.” It explores how this one Connecticut county produced such exceptional work drawing on sources from both sides of the Atlantic.
This exhibit is curated by Lynne Z. Bassett, a longtime member of the Dublin Seminar planning committee and co-chair of this year’s conference. She brings deep expertise on needlework, textiles, costumes, quilts, and of course the tools behind the creation of those artifacts. Visit the Florence Griswold Museum website for the schedule of lectures, demonstrations, and gallery talks she’s also lined up this spring.
Steven D. Lubar is Professor of American Studies, History, and History of Art and Architecture at Brown University.
At the university he has also served as Director of the John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage and Director of the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology.
Before coming to Brown, Steve Lubar was Chair of the Division of the History of Technology at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.
Lubar is the author or coauthor of Inside the Lost Museum: Curating, Past and Present; Legacies: Collecting America’s History at the Smithsonian; InfoCulture: The Smithsonian Book of Information Age Inventions; History from Things: Essays on Material Culture; and Engines of Change: The American Industrial Revolution, as well as many articles on museums and on the history of technology.
Exhibits he oversaw at the Smithsonian include “America on the Move,” “Smithsonian’s America,” and “Engines of Change.” He was a Guggenheim Fellow in 2016.
One of Prof. Lubar’s current projects is a book exploring the cultural history of tools, so we’re looking forward to hearing his insights on this year’s Dublin Seminar theme, “Tools and Toolmaking in New England.”