Steven D. Lubar Professor of American Studies, Professor of History of Art and Architecture, Professor of History

Professor, American Studies, History, and History of Art and Architecture. At Brown since 2004. Director of the John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage, 2004-2014. Director of the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology, 2010-2012.

Before that, Chair of the Division of the History of Technology at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.

Guggenheim Fellow, 2016. 

Author or co-author of Legacies: Collecting America's History at the SmithsonianInfoCulture: the Smithsonian Book of Information Age Inventions; History from Things and Engines of Change: The American Industrial Revolution, and many articles on museums and on the history of technology. 

Exhibits at the Smithsonian include "America on the Move," "Smithsonian's America," and "Engines of Change." Exhibits at Brown include oversight of student exhibitions at the public humanities center, the Haffenreffer Museum, and the John Hay Library. 

Present interests include the history of museums and memorials, material culture studies, and digital humanities.

Brown Affiliations

Research Areas

scholarly work

Recent Publications:

“From Collections to Curriculum: New Approaches to Teaching and Learning,” in A Handbook for Academic Museums: Beyond Exhibitions And Education (Edinburgh: MuseumsEtc., 2012) (with Emily Stokes-Rees)

“Timelines in Exhibits,” Curator: The Museum Journal, March 2013

“‘To polish and adorn the mind’: The United States Naval Lyceum at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, 1833- 1889,” Museum History Journal, January 2014

“Fifty Years of Collecting: Curatorial Philosophy at the National Museum of American History,” Federal History Journal, January 2015

research overview


At work on a book, "Lessons from the Lost Museum," on the history and future of museums. Expected publication 2017, Harvard University Press. 

funded research