Mark Roskill Graduate Symposium

The Mark Roskill Symposium in Art History is an interdisciplinary symposium organized annually by the graduate students in the Department of the History of Art and Architecture.  Named in honor of Mark Roskill (1933-2000), Roskill was an art historian and scholar of art historiography and criticism who taught at the University of Massachusetts Amherst for over 30 years. Educated at Harvard and Princeton Universities, he began as a specialist in the Italian Renaissance, but continued throughout his career to write widely on then-emerging fields, including photography, English painting, and Cubism.  Among his numerous publications is an influential methodological text, What is Art History? (1976).

2016 Mark Roskill Symposium

Actively Historic: The House Museum in the 21st Century

September 23, 2016
4:00 pm
S240, Integrative Learning Center, UMass Amherst Campus

Historic house museums offer a unique, more personal experience of the past -- an experience both valuable, and at risk.  In recent years, many historic houses have faced increasingly dire economic obstacles, including a declining number of visitors and sparse funding. Concerns of social and cultural relevancy, and reactivation of the visitor experience are likewise of central importance. Historic house museums are particularly significant to the five college community and our immediate regional surroundings. Our symposium unites representatives from diverse institutions to discuss contemporary issues surrounding historic house museums.

Frank Vagnone, co-author of Anarchist’s Guide to Historic House Museums, will present a keynote address on the larger issues of preservation and small cultural institutions, based on his experience with historic house museums. Following the keynote will be a roundtable discussion moderated by Tim Rohan, Assistant Professor of the History of Architecture at UMass Amherst, with panelists from loca institutions, including: Jane Wald, executive director at Amherst College’s Emily Dickinson House Museum; Nina Zannieri, Executive Director of the Paul Revere Memorial Association; Anne Lanning, Vice President for Museum Affairs at Historic Deerfield; and Barbara Matthews, Public Historian at Historic Deerfield.

Many thanks to the Department of the History of Art and Architecture at UMass, Umass Graduate Dean, Umass Public History Department, Umass Fine Arts Council, Smith College Art History, Mount Holyoke Art History and Architecture, Emily Dickenson Museum, Five Colleges for their generous support of this event.

A networking reception will cap off the symposium following the panel discussion.

View photos of this event on our photos page!

Previous Themes & Keynote Speakers


Plugged In: Art in the Digital Age

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Anne Umland, Museum of Modern Art, New York


In the City: Identity and Urban Spaces

Keynote Speaker: Carmenita Higginbotham, University of Virginia