Department of History. American Civilization students participate in the lively intellectual life of the campus and the Department of History, including the weekly History Workshop series organized by the department and other lectures and colloquia. The Department’s growing interest in comparative approaches, and its established strengths in the social history of technology, the Atlantic World, and the history of the United States’ development as the world’s premiere consumer society offer strong frameworks for the study of material culture.
The Emerging Scholars Symposium and DELPHI. American Civilization students are leaders among graduate students interested in material culture studies on campus. They originated the annual Emerging Scholars Symposium, funded through the Center for Material Culture Studies (CMCS). Each year, Am Civ students work with peers from other departments in organizing this program, which showcases original research in material culture by graduate students from around the United States. Emerging Scholars gives students experience in organizing an academic conference. It is also great way to meet peers and future colleagues as you begin your preparation for a career as a scholar of material culture.
CMCS also offers many opportunities for students to present their own work and learn about the work of other scholars on campus. It sponsors a summer program for graduate students, the Delaware Public Humanities Institute (DELPHI), that offers a generous summer stipend as well as a two-week course in public humanities scholarship.
Museum Studies Program at the University of Delaware. Since 1972, the University of Delaware’s Museum Studies Program has introduced students to successful careers in museums, historic sites, and cultural agencies and organizations. The 12-credit program is open to any University of Delaware graduate students (including Am Civ students) enrolled in a degree-granting program. Students take a minimum of 9 credit hours of classes and complete a three-credit internship to receive the Certificate in Museum Studies. Instructors include distinguished professionals from area museums as well as university faculty. The Museum Studies Program also offers opportunities for graduate students to work as graduate assistants.
Winterthur Museum, Gardens, and Library. Our program enjoys a strong relationship with Winterthur Museum, Gardens, and Library. Students planning to enter the American Civilization Program come to Delaware early to participate in the museum’s Summer Institute, a one-month course that is required for all incoming students in the Winterthur Program in American Material Culture, a two-year program leading to a Master of Arts degree. The Summer Institute is an opportunity to learn about Winterthur’s museum and library collections, and to receive an introduction to American craftsmanship and design up to 1850 through hands-on experience with objects. Our students have been very successful in their applications for slots in the Winterthur Program’s annual English Design Course, which takes place in January. Many of our students have also received research fellowships from Winterthur, which they use to advance their dissertation research.
While Winterthur’s artifact collections focus on American decorative arts made and used in the United States before 1850, the superb library collections of trade literature, ephemera, imprints, and manuscripts carry the story of American material life up to the mid-twentieth century.
Hagley Museum and Library. The mission of the Hagley Museum and Library is to collect and interpret materials relating to the history of American enterprise. An important focus of the collections is industrial design, and the collections of trade catalogs and other imprints dovetail with the collections atWinterthur, supporting research on the development of American consumer society up to the present day.