About Us

The Center for Material Culture Studies at the University of Delaware helps integrate and enhance the University’s rich resources for the creation, study, and conservation of material culture. Its scope is broad and embraces all the things people make and all the ways those things, in turn, inhabit and act upon the physical world.

To realize these goals the Center sponsors teaching and research in material culture studies at the undergraduate, graduate and faculty levels through grant programs, fellowships, teaching support, working groups, and conferences.

Fulfilling a core mandate to foster public understanding of material culture in our own community and beyond, the Center partners with institutions both local and international, such as the University of Delaware’s Special Collections, the Hagley Museum and Library, and Johannes Gutenberg Universität Mainz, in Germany.

The Center is committed to outreach and collaboration among departments, programs, and research centers at the University of Delaware. CMCS-affiliated faculty represent material culture studies from the perspectives of disciplines and departments such as: Africana Studies; Anthropology; Art; Art Conservation; Art History; Center for Historic Architecture and Design; English; Fashion and Apparel Studies; Hagley Program in Capitalism, Technology, and Culture; History; Geography; Museum Studies; History of American Civilization; Sociology; UD Library, Museums and Press; Winterthur Program in American Material Culture; Women and Gender Studies; and Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation. Many of our faculty are also affiliated with mid-Atlantic cultural institutions outside of the University, such as the Delaware Art Museum and the Winterthur Museum.

The current directors of the Center are Professors Sarah Wasserman, Department of English, and Carla Guerrón Montero, Department of Anthropology.

In 2020, CMCS celebrated its 20th anniversary. To mark the occasion, we invited 20 people who have been integral to the Center’s success and longevity to share an object that they find meaningful in their work as a researcher and teacher of material culture.

Please enjoy—with your sound on!