Maurie McInnis / Art History

In Spring 2012 I will be teaching an upper-level art history and American studies seminar called “Art and Abolitionism.” This grows out of a book I have recently published and is related to work I am doing on an exhibition that will be held at the Library of Virginia in 2014 called “To Be Sold: Virginia and the American Slave Trade.” I will use the money to support additional programming for the class. As part of our examination of how anti-slavery movements have been represented by artists, we will watch contemporary movies such as “Amazing Grace” and “Amistad” and “Glory.” Rather than these being merely assignments that students do on their own, we will use the Mead endowment money to supply dinner for all of us to have movie nights together. In the class, the students will do research on objects and books in Special Collections at UVa, some of which may become part of the exhibition.

I will also use the money to fund travel for 2-3 students in the class to accompany me on a research trip to the Massachusetts Historical Society (Boston) and the American Antiquarian Society (Worcester). These two collections are particularly rich in abolitionist art and artifacts. The students will help me conduct research and select artifacts for the exhibition.

I am particularly keen to give art history students experience in being involved with exhibition research and design. These are the kinds of experiences that help them determine whether or not they wish to pursue a career in the arts and in museums and if so give them some real world experience before graduating.