Spring 2008

Material Culture of the Victorian Era, 1850-1900

Listed in: History, as HIST-81


Nan Wolverton (Section 01)


(US)Crossing disciplinary boundaries, this course addresses the study and interpretation of objects and landscapes as cultural documents. The preserved houses and grounds of the Emily Dickinson Museum provide a rare opportunity for the immersive study of the architecture, decorative arts, and landscape gardening of the middle-class family in Victorian America. The art, household furnishings, grounds, and related documentary sources of two Dickinson family homes will serve as a laboratory for the study of Victorian material culture and its interpretation for the public. Students will learn about the production and consumption of Victorian material goods and their aesthetic context. They will develop the skills and knowledge needed to explore how objects, people and meaning intersect. Consideration will be given to how material culture helped define the differences between the social classes of Victorian America. This course offers the opportunity for first-hand experience in a museum setting. Not open to first-year students. Limited to 15 students. Second semester. Visiting Lecturer Wolverton.