Looking through the Skiascope: Benjamin Gilman and the Invention of the Modern Museum Gallery

Steven Lubar, Department of American Studies, Brown University   Late last summer, I visited the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) Museum equipped with an odd device, a skiascope. I wanted to see art the way that Benjamin Ives Gilman (1852–1933) had seen it when he invented the device a century earlier. Gilman was a …



“It’s in My Mind”: William Merritt Chase and the Imagination

James Glisson, The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Garden In some respects, the research methods I use as a curator are the inverse of those of a  graduate student writing a dissertation. While in the past I skipped over works of art that did not fit into my narrative and sought out the best …



A Portrait of Samuel Finley Attributed to John Hesselius

Megan Holloway Fort, Independent Art Historian In 2016, the Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA) undertook a major research initiative focusing on their collection of American paintings and sculpture to 1945. The project was directed by Kimberly Orcutt, who was then serving as Mellon Curator at Large at the IMA and who hired me to work …