Sarah Anne Carter

Position title: Executive Director of the Center for Design and Material Culture; Associate Professor in Design Studies


Phone: (608) 262.1162

1235A Nancy Nicholas Hall
Office Hours: By appointment.

Curriculum Vitae

A.B. Harvard College, 2002
M.A. University of Delaware, 2004
M.A. Harvard University, 2006
Ph.D. Harvard University, 2010

Prior to joining SoHE, I was the Curator and Director of Research at the Chipstone Foundation in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where I collaboratively curated many museum exhibitions and directed Chipstone’s Think Tank Program in support of progressive curatorial practice. I have been working in and around museums since I was thirteen years old and am very curious about the ways objects are used to convey information and tell stories.

My interdisciplinary training in American Studies and Material Culture allows me to consider a wide range of sources as I investigate histories of children and childhood, museums, domestic interiors and the home, and American social and cultural life more broadly. I am currently working on two new projects, an article on the history of the Practice Cottage at the School of Human Ecology and a new book that will offer an affective or emotional history of the American museum, tentatively called “Museum Feelings.”

In addition to my recent book, Object Lessons: How Nineteenth-Century Americans Learned to Make Sense of the Material World (Oxford, 2018) and my coauthored book, Tangible Things: Making History Through Objects (Oxford, 2015), I am co-editor with Ivan Gaskell of the forthcoming thirty-essay collection, The Oxford Handbook of History and Material Culture that will be published in February 2020. My work has also appeared in Common-Place, Avidly, a channel of the LA Review of Books, and the Washington Post.

SoHe 501: The Material Culture of Childhood
DS 422: History of Architecture and Interiors II