Robert P. Emlen
Robert P. Emlen studies issues of historical representations of place. He has published his research on the material life of 18th and 19th century America in the leading journals of American material culture. He is presently working on a companion book to his Shaker Village Views: Illustrated Maps and Landscape Drawings by Shaker Artists of the Nineteenth Century (University Press of NE, 1987.) The current project explores how Shaker life was illustrated in the popular press of the 19th century.
Robert P. Emlen is Senior Lecturer in the Department of American Studies. His courses in material culture studies include "Houses and their Furnishings in Early America," "Gravestones and Burying Grounds," "American Folk Art," "The Neoclassical Ideal in America," and "The Arts and Crafts Movement in America." He also teaches courses each year in the cultural history of the decorative arts in the Department of the History of Art & Visual Culture at the Rhode Island School of Design.
His research has been published in leading journals of American material culture and art, including American Furniture, The American Art Journal, Connaissance des Arts, Folk Art, Imprint: Journal of the American Historical Print Collectors Society, Old-Time New England, Rhode Island History, and Winterthur Portfolio.
Mr. Emlen also holds an appointment as Brown's University Curator, with curatorial responsibility for the art collections and historic properties furnishing the Brown campus.
Robert P. Emlen's research interests are issues of historical representations of place. His current study, Picturing the Shakers, a companion book to his Shaker Village Views, explores how Shaker life was depicted in the popular illustrated press of 19th-century America.
Recently-completed research projects include "The Earliest Pictures of Brown," an online essay for Brown University Digital Initiatives, and "How the Shakers Came to Be Comfortable with Pictures on Their Walls" in the Shaker Museum Mount Lebanon Journal for Winter, 2012.
Winterthur Museum and Library Research Fellowship, 2008
Robert P. Emlen's professional and community activities include:
2012 to present President, The Review Club
2006 to present Board of Directors, Friends of the Haffenreffer Museum
2003 to present Advisory Committee, Dublin Seminar for NE Folk Life
2003 to present Board of Directors, Seekonk, Massachusetts, Land Trust
1996 to present Co-chair and member, Historic New England Council
2003-2005 Member, Board of Directors, Enfield Shaker Museum
2000-2003 Member, Historical Commission, Town of Seekonk, Mass.
1998-2001 Overseer, Strawbery Banke Museum
1997 Reviewer, National Humanities Center
1996 Evaluator, Rhode Island Committee for the Humanities
1996 to present Chair and member, Campus Collections Committee, Brown University
1995-2004 Reviewer & Panelist, National Endowment / Humanities
1995 to present Member, Public Sculpture Committee, Brown University
1995 to present Member, Bell Gallery Committee, Brown University
1993-1997 President, The Shakespeare's Head Association
1991-1993 President, The Providence Art Club
1989-1995 Board of Directors, The Providence Preservation Soc.
1989-1997 Member & Chair, Planning & Archt. Review, Providence Preservation Soc.
1988 Reviewer, The Getty Grant Program
1988 Charles F. Montgomery Award/Prize Committee, The Decorative Arts Society
1988-1991 Board of Managers, The Providence Art Club
1986-1988 Merit Aid Panelist, Massachusetts Council on the Arts and Humanities
1982-2001 Museum Assessment Program Evaluator, American Association of Museums
1981-1983 Executive Committee, New England Museum Association
Robert P. Emlen has taught courses in material culture studies for the Department of American Studies to graduate students and undergraduate students at Brown since 1985. He teaches "Topics in Material Culture Studies" (AMST 0125), a series of courses in which different aspects of material culture are examined as primary documents for the study of American cultural history. Recent course titles include "Houses and their Furnishings in Early America," "Gravestones and Burying Grounds," "American Folk Art," "The Neoclassical Ideal, 1775-1840," and "The Arts and Crafts Movement in America 1880-1920." Detailed info and syllabi for these courses can be accessed online at:
Professor Emlen also holds an appointment in the Department of the History of Art and Visual Culture at the Rhode Island School of Design, where he has taught "Topics in American Decorative Arts" since 1984.
- Office of the University Curator
- Course web site, "Houses and Their Furnishings in Early America"
- Course web site, "The Neoclassical Ideal in America, 1775-1840"
- Course web site, "Gravestones and Burying Grounds"