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Undergraduate Research

Individual Research

The museum and its collections serve as a laboratory for students from across the curriculum to engage in original undergraduate research culiminating in research papers, exhibitions, digital projects and public lectures.   The musuem staff works closely with students and their academic advisors to develop independent studies and internships for credit engaging students in rigorous intellectual inquiry as well as providing professional training and experience. 

Dan Burke is a senior American Studies major.  Dan had been working the museum since he took the seminar “AMS372:  Museum Mysteries” during the fall of 2012 where his final project was an examination of the Museum’s collection of European bayonets.  Over the past three semesters Dan has researched the Museum’s needlepoint samplers, a federal period mantelpiece, and is currently working with a collection of prints portraying american landscapes and busts of Benjamin Franklin.

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  • Maddie Fye, '13 researched the museum's photography collection, exploring how developments in photography impacted local lives, resulting in an exhibition titled Collecting Shadows: The Dawn of American Photography. This was an Internship for a Credit research project and exhibition that explores how new technological advances in 19th century photography impacted American social and cultural life.  

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  • Marissa Sobel, '13, collaborated with Classics Department Professor Shawn O'Bryhim to create the exhibition, Money: Rome to U$: An Installation Comparing Roman and American Coinage. Their research, made possible by a Nissley research grant,  explores the meaning of symbols found on money and how contemporary coinage continues to carry signifigant messages first propriated by ancient civilizations.

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  • Heather Brown '13 and Megan Brown '13 researched objects from The Phillips Museum, Special Collections & Archives, as well as several local historical collections, to curate the exhibition Emancipation 150: National Event Local Lives. The exhibit reviews Lancaster's role in the fight for freedom, and was a Hackman Scholarship Research project supervised by American Studies Professor Louise Stevenson.  Their research culminated in an exhibition in Nissley Gallery as well as an online exhibition on OMEKA, a digital publishing platform.

  • Judith Stapleton ‘ 12, Franklin & Marshall College, worked with a collection of drawings by Zdzislaw Czermanski, a gift from Mrs. Sarah Ellmaker Mcilvaine Muench.  These drawings were previously uncatalogued. Judith has documented, researched and re-housed the collection, which may form the basis for a future exhibition program.


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  • Gabby Jiayin She ’11, Franklin & Marshall College, had worked with the museum’s collection of 130 ukiyo-e Japanese prints, a gift from Mrs. Lillian Van Horn.  Gabby researched the prints over the course of two semesters and a summer field trip to Japan.  She catalogued and contextualized a group of 'beauty' prints from well-known ukiyo-e masters selected from the museum’s collection. This collection served as the basis of her departmental honors research project as well as an exhibition. 

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  • Jessica Jackson ’10, Franklin & Marshall College, completed a Hackman research project cataloguing and assisting with the transfer of the Bill Hutson Collection, a major gift from the artist to the to The Phillips Museum of Art.  

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  • Christy Batta ’09, Franklin & Marshall College, used works from the permanent collection to explore the cultural constructions that separate art and graphic design.  Her research was used for her departmental honors project and culminated in the exhibition Where Do you Draw the Line? 

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  • Kaitlin Dunn ’09, Franklin & Marshall College, researched Eleanore Lockspeiser paintings from the permanent collection and various private collections.  Her project culminated in the exhibition The Procession & Other Works by Eleanore Losckspeiser, exploring the life and work of Lockspeiser as a remarkable and important artist of the Abstract Expressionist era, as well as a person of incredible influence over students. Kaitlin’s research formed the basis for her departmental honor project.