The University Curator is responsible for the historical collections and artifacts on the Brown campus. These include such things as tall case clocks, silver tea services, stained glass windows and drawings and paintings -- all the fine and decorative arts used to furnish the University's buildings.
Emlen spent 10 years as director of the John Nicholas Brown Center and has long used the University's historic collections to teach material culture studies in the Department of American Civilization. His students have been assigned to examine everything from the President's chair to the weathervane on University Hall, as icons and relics of Brown's past.
Creation of the Curator's position grew out of a survey of campus collections Emlen conducted soon after President Gregorian arrived. Emlen's inventory of historical properties in all campus buildings took two years to complete.
As University Curator, Emlen is charged with protecting, preserving, interpreting and developing Brown's historic collections, currently being used in 253 campus buildings.
He also is identifying buildings which should have more appropriate furnishings and is evaluating existing furnishings in need of restoration.