Department of History
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo, MI 49008-5334
I teach a range of courses in public history, including museum studies courses at the undergraduate and graduate level. My approach to the teaching of public history acknowledges popular history created for mass consumption, especially in film and television, and emphasizes the ever-expanding role of the digital—online archives, wikis, social media, and the like—in public history. My teaching interests also include material culture studies and American art history.
I am a research associate with the Quilt Index, www.quiltindex.org, an online archive providing preservation and access for over 50,000 quilts, and as such, my research interests fall into two main tracks: the digital turn in public history and early American quilt history. Much of my research in past years has dealt with questions raised by large digital archives, such as ways in which historians can use new computing applications to solve historical questions, Benjaminian notions of authenticity in the age of digital reproduction, and the nature of digital material culture. My current research looks at the crowdsourcing of historical research and writing by lay scholars on social media sites, and I am in the early stages of planning a project that uses digital mapping tools to tell a spatial history of quilts. I am also interested in the global production, distribution, and consumption of textiles and dyes in the eighteenth and nineteenth century, the place of sewing and quiltmaking in the cult of domesticity, quilts affiliated with the Founding Mothers, and the use of mourning prints in quiltmaking.
MacDowell, Marsha, Justine Richardson, Mary Worrall, Amanda Grace Sikarskie and Steve Cohen. "Quilted Together: How the Quilt Index is Interweaving Material Culture Pedagogy Resources with the World's Foremost Online Quilt Database." In Winterthur Portfolio. Special Issue on Material Culture Pedagogy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Forthcoming.
Sikarskie, Amanda Grace. Ed. Special Issue: Quilters in the Digital Age. New Directions in Folklore. Vol. 9. July 2011.
MacDowell, Marsha, Amanda Sikarskie, Mary Worrall, and Justine Richardson. "The Quilt Index: From Preservation and Access to the Co-Creation of Knowledge." New Directions in Folklore. Vol. 9. July 2011.
Richardson, Justine, Dean Rehberger, Marsha MacDowell, Amanda Sikarskie and Mary Worrall. "The Quilt Index Goes 2.0: A Fiberspace Case Study." In J. Trant and D. Bearman. Eds. Museums and the Web 2009: Proceedings. Toronto: Archives & Museum Informatics, 2009. http://www.archimuse.com/mw2009/papers/macdowell/macdowell.html
Sikarskie, Amanda Grace, Marsha MacDowell, Karen Alexander, and Nancy Hornback. "Researching Signature Quilts." http://www.quiltindex.org/sqpessay.php