Archives of American Art, Lunder Institute for American Art, and Cleveland Museum of Art lead the field in teaching the history of American art with primary sources

By the Archives

September 13, 2019

The Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art, the Lunder Institute for American Art, and the Cleveland Museum of Art have joined forces to present a series of three unique workshops to create innovative, adaptable models for teaching the history of American art with primary sources.   

Earlier in the year, through a competitive application process, ten teachers were selected to participate in all three of the upcoming workshops.  We are delighted to announce our cohort:

Photo collage of participants in the Teach with Primary Sources workshop

Clockwise from top left: KATIE ANANIA, Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska, Lincoln; MELODY DEUSNER, Assistant Professor, Indiana University; TESS KOROBKIN, Assistant Professor, University of Maryland, College Park; ANNIE RONAN, Assistant Professor, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University; ALLISON STAGG, Curator, Mark Twain Center for Transatlantic Relations, Kurpfälzisches Museum, Heidelberg, Germany; SARAH ARCHINO, Assistant Professor, Furman University; MELANEE HARVEY, Assistant Professor, Howard University; AUSTIN PORTER, Assistant Professor, Kenyon College; EMMA SILVERMAN, Visiting Assistant Professor, Smith College; BERNIDA WEBB-BINDER, Assistant Professor, Spelman College.


The workshops will be held at the Archives of American Art in Washington, DC, September 26-28, 2019; the Lunder Institute for American Art in Waterville, Maine, April 2-4, 2020; and the Cleveland Museum of Art in Cleveland, Ohio, March 25-27, 2021. The workshop in Washington has been generously supported by Max N. Berry.

Each workshop will offer an intensive three-day program of presentations, discussions and hands-on archival encounters for its ten core participants, invited leaders, and guests. The workshops aim to build lasting relationships among the participants, who will serve as advocates for teaching with primary sources in the field of American art for years to come. Tied to specific topics and engaging with local expertise, each workshop will incorporate time for peer-to-peer discussion, interaction with invited presenters, reflection on models shared, and experimentation with teaching strategies. The outcome will be a set of distinct and adaptable models for incorporating primary sources into the teaching of American art history.

The objectives are as follows:

  • To provide a forum for sharing and developing innovative approaches to teaching the history of American art;
  • To demonstrate how the Archives of American Art, Lunder Institute for American Art, and Cleveland Museum of Art can support and expand the use of primary sources in the field, and specifically, to encourage the use of the Archive of American Art’s online collections (nearly 3 million files) in curricula;
  • To create and disseminate (at no charge) a set of adaptable models for teaching the history of American art with primary sources;
  • To help students develop competencies in primary research; and
  • To empower students to ask their own questions and develop evidence-supported interpretations.

LIZA KIRWIN, Deputy Director, Archives of American Art, will lead the first workshop, and TANYA SHEEHAN, William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Art and Distinguished Scholar and Director of Research at the Lunder Institute for American Art at Colby College, will direct the April series. The culminating session in Cleveland in 2021 will be overseen by CYRA LEVINSON, Deputy Director and Head of Public and Academic Engagement at the Cleveland Museum of Art and KEY JO LEE, Assistant Director for Academic Affairs, also at the Cleveland Museum. Additionally, each venue will feature invited faculty composed of distinguished scholars who have developed innovative methods for teaching with archives and primary sources.

The faculty for our first workshop at the Archives of American Art, September 26-28, 2019, includes:

Janice Simon, Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Associate Professor of Art History in the Lamar Dodd School of Art, University of Georgia

Richard J. Powell, John Spencer Bassett Professor of Art and Art History, Duke University

Hannah W. Wong, art historian and independent scholar

Michael Leja, James and Nan Wagner Farquhar Professor of the History of Art, University of Pennsylvania

Ellery Foutch, Assistant Professor of American Studies, Middlebury College

Avis Berman, Independent writer and art historian

About the Archives of American Art
Founded in 1954, the Archives of American Art fosters advanced research through the accumulation and dissemination of primary sources, unequaled in historical depth and breadth, that document more than 200 years of the nation’s artists and art communities. The Archives provides access to these materials through its exhibitions and publications, including the Archives of American Art Journal, the longest-running scholarly journal in the field of American art. An international leader in the digitizing of archival collections, the Archives also makes nearly 3 million images freely available online. The oral-history collection includes more than 2,400 audio interviews, the largest accumulation of in-depth, first-person accounts of the American art world.

About the Lunder Institute for American Art  
The Lunder Institute for American Art supports innovative research and creative production that expands the boundaries of American art. A collaborative initiative with the Colby College Museum of Art located in central Maine, the Lunder Institute invites visiting artists, scholars, and museum professionals to engage across disciplines with Colby faculty and students, the College’s network of institutional partners, leading experts, and other creative collaborators. Through fellowships, workshops, symposia, and incubator grants, the Lunder Institute amplifies marginalized voices, challenges convention, and provides a platform for generative dialogue through art and scholarship.

About the Cleveland Museum of Art
The Cleveland Museum of Art offers dynamic experiences that illuminate the power and enduring relevance of art in today’s global society. The museum builds, preserves, studies, and shares its outstanding collections of art from all periods and parts of the world, generating new scholarship and understanding, while serving as a social and intellectual hub for its community.