2015 Canadian Studies Center Advisory Board Members

Marsha
  • Marsha MacDowell, PhD
  • Professor, MSU Museum Curator, Co Director and Founder of the Great Lakes Folk Festival
  • Department of Art and Art History
  • 101 MSU Museum
  • East Lansing, MI 48824
  • 517-355-2370
  • macdowel@msu.edu

MacDowell's work is centered in the study of the production, use and meaning of traditional material culture. This inquiry is grounded in an interdisciplinary approach to material culture informed by art historical, folkloristic, and ethnographic theories and methodologies. Special interests include critical examination of the role of museums in contemporary society; development of educational resources and public arts policies related to traditional arts; and development of strategies to make collected data accessible online and then to create tools to engage individuals in using these online collections for research and education. She has been particularly interested in developing research projects in collaboration with representatives of the communities and cultural groups and in being engaged in projects that have a positive impact on identified societal needs.

As coordinator since 1984 of the Michigan Traditional Arts Program (a statewide partnership between the MSU Museum and the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs) she has led or collaborated on many research, documentation, collection development, exhibition, publication, and education activities focused on Michigan's traditional cultural heritage. In addition to this Michigan based and focused work, she has also been deeply engaged in projects of regional, national and international scope. She is the director of the Quilt Index (www.quiltindex.org), a digital repository of stories, images, and other data related to quilts, quilt artists, and quilt-making from dispersed private and publication collections around the world.

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