JOHN DAVIS, PH.D.
John Davis is President of Historic Deerfield. He previously served as Provost and Under Secretary for Museums, Education, and Research at the Smithsonian Institution, Executive Director of the Terra Foundation for American Art Europe (Paris), and Alice Pratt Brown Professor of Art at Smith College. A graduate of Cornell University, he received his Ph.D. from Columbia University with a dissertation on 19th-century American artists who traveled in the Holy Land. The author, co-author, and editor of seven books, John’s research interests include landscape painting, religion and visual culture, music and art, African-American representation during the Civil War and Reconstruction eras, the history of artists’ organizations, archival and documentary histories of American art, and 19th-century architecture and urbanism. His article, “Eastman Johnson’s Negro Life at the South and Urban Slavery in Washington, D.C.” was selected by the College Art Association as one of the 32 most important articles published in the first hundred years of the Art Bulletin. He has served as a visiting professor in Belgium, France, and Japan, and his research has been supported by the Fulbright Association, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, the Henry Luce Foundation, and the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts. John is an elected member of the American Antiquarian Society.
Erika Gasser, Ph.D.
Erika Gasser is Director of Academic Programs at Historic Deerfield, where she oversees the Summer Fellowship Program, the Deerfield-Wellesley Symposium, and other seasonal lectures and events. In addition, she teaches a course in the history and material culture of New England for Smith College and helps to organize Historic Deerfield’s participation in the Dublin Seminar for New England Folklife and the New England Regional Fellowship Consortium. Previously, she was Associate Professor of History at the University of Cincinnati and Assistant Professor of History at Sacramento State University. She holds an M.A. in History and Ph.D. in History and Women’s Studies from the University of Michigan. She has published scholarship about religion, gender, and witchcraft-possession in early modern England and colonial New England, and her recent research interests include sensory history, gender, and religion across a vast early America and Atlantic world.
JAMES GOLDEN, PH.D.
James Golden is Director of Interpretation at Historic Deerfield, Inc., where he oversees the interpretation of the historic houses and craft spaces, the K-12 education programs, and key public programs. Previously, he was Director of Education at The Mark Twain House & Museum in Hartford, CT, and a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Cambridge. He holds an MA in Divinity and an MSc in History from the University of Edinburgh, and a D.Phil. (Ph.D.) in Modern History from the University of Oxford. He has taught history at Trinity College, Hartford, Wesleyan University, and the University of Hartford. His research concerns nineteenth-century religious, political, material, and associational culture in Britain, Ireland, and America, and has appeared in both peer-reviewed journals and edited collections published by Bloomsbury Academic and Four Courts Press.
Amanda Lange is the Curatorial Department Director and Curator of Historic Interiors at Historic Deerfield. She received her undergraduate degree in Art and Art History from Rice University in Houston, Texas, and her master’s degree from the University of Delaware/Winterthur Program in Early American Culture. After graduation, she joined the curatorial staff of the Winterthur Museum as Assistant Curator of Ceramics and Glass. At Historic Deerfield she was part of a team that developed the Flynt Center of Early New England Life, a 27,000 square-foot facility for exhibitions, visible storage, and object work areas. She was responsible for opening the Museum’s Attic, a study gallery filled with over 3,000 decorative arts objects. Ms. Lange has developed several exhibitions and accompanying catalogues including Eye for Excellence: Masterworks from Winterthur, Delicate Deception: Delftware at Historic Deerfield, 1600-1800, and The Canton Connection: Art and Commerce of the China Trade, 1784-1860. Ms. Lange is also a contributing author to the publication, Global Trade and Visual Arts in Federal New England (University of New England Press, 2014). Currently Ms. Lange is working on a catalogue of Historic Deerfield’s British ceramics collection. She is a board member of the American Ceramic Circle, Chair of the American Ceramic Circle Membership committee, a member of the Ceramics Study Club of Boston, and a member of the Colonial Chocolate Society, a scholarly group of museum professionals, academics, and historians supported by Mars, Incorporated.
ANNE DIGAN LANNING
Anne Digan Lanning is Senior Vice President of Historic Deerfield, Inc. She oversees the departments that comprise the museum division – Curatorial, Museum Education and Interpretation, Academic Programs, Library, and Special Event Planning. She has worked at Historic Deerfield since 1986 and during this time has also held the positions of Vice President for Museum Affairs, Curator for Interpretation, and Chair of the Curatorial Department. Ms. Lanning’s research interests focus on women’s history topics from the colonial period to the colonial revival, historic foodways, taverns, and the history of technology. She developed two of the museum’s signature interpretative programs – open hearth cooking demonstrations and classes and the historic trades demonstration series – as a way to engage and teach visitors about life and work in pre-industrial New England. She is currently researching the Barnard Tavern, the museum’s latest restoration project, to get a clearer picture of how this public house functioned during the early National Period and the young family who operated it. She has lectured and published on a variety of topics. In 2010, Ms. Lanning led Historic Deerfield through a successful reaccreditation review by the American Alliance of Museums. Historic Deerfield is one of 43 accredited museums in Massachusetts. She received an undergraduate degree in history from the College of New Rochelle (NY), and a master’s degree in History Museum Studies from the Cooperstown Graduate Program (NY). Prior to joining the staff at Historic Deerfield, she worked as Director of the Patterson Homestead and Director of Education at the Montgomery County Historical Society, Dayton, Ohio.
Daniel Sousa is the Assistant Curator at Historic Deerfield, where he is responsible for the museum’s collection of early American furniture. Prior to joining Historic Deerfield’s staff in 2017, he worked at the New England Historic Genealogical Society, and at Skinner Auctioneers and Appraisers. Over the years, he has been involved with different furniture study projects, including the Boston Furniture Archive, an online database organized by the Winterthur Museum, and the Kneeland and Adams Shop Research Project, a team of researchers investigating Federal Period cabinetmaking in Hartford County, CT and the Connecticut River Valley of Massachusetts. His curatorial research interests also include British ceramics, particularly British transferware, and he and colleague Amanda Lange are currently at work on a catalogue of Historic Deerfield’s British ceramics collection. His research interests also encompass the history of colonial New England, the American Revolution, the Early American Republic, and religion in early America. A proud participant of the 2019 Winterthur Institute program, he holds a B.A. in history from Providence College, an M.A. in history from the University of Massachusetts, Boston, and a certificate in genealogical research from Boston University.
Lea Stephenson is the Luce Foundation Curatorial Fellow in American Paintings & Works on Paper. She received her undergraduate degree in Art History from Temple University, and her MA from the Williams Graduate Program in Art History. Lea is currently completing her PhD in Art History at the University of Delaware, where her work focuses on nineteenth-century American and British art. Her dissertation considers American artists and collectors in Egypt during the Gilded Age and the entangled colonial or racial ideologies under this iteration of Orientalism. Her research interests include the relationship between art and the senses, portraiture, interiors, materiality, and questions around American art and empire. Previously, she has held curatorial positions and fellowships at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Preservation Society of Newport Country, Dallas Museum of Art, and the Clark Art Institute. She has appeared in both academic journals, edited volumes, and exhibition catalogs, where she explored topics ranging from Aesthetic Movement interiors to eighteenth-century portraits tied to enslaved labor.
Lauren D. Whitley, PH.D.
Lauren D. Whitley is the Curator of Historic Textiles and Clothing at Historic Deerfield and oversees its collection of more than 8,000 objects. She received her B.A. in Art History from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, and her M.A. in Fashion and Textiles Studies: History, Theory, Museum Practice from the Fashion Institute of Technology, State University of New York in New York. In 2023, she completed her Ph.D. in Humanities at Salve Regina in Newport, Rhode Island. Before joining Historic Deerfield in 2023, she was senior curator in the Department of Textile and Fashion Arts at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. There she was engaged in all aspects of the curatorial department and its global collection of more than 50,000 textiles and fashions. Ms. Whitley developed more than fourteen exhibitions including Fabric of a Nation: American Quilt Stories (2021), Beyond the Loom and Subversive Threads in “Women Take the Floor” (2019), #techstyle (2016), and Hippie Chic (2013). In addition, in 2022, Ms. Whitley helped organize the exhibition Fashion Reimagined: Themes and Variations 1700-Now as a freelance curator for the Mint Museum in Charlotte, North Carolina. She is a member of several professional organizations including the Textile Society of America, the Costume Society of America, The Society of Dress Historians UK, and the Textile and Costume Curators Forum.
PHILIP ZEA, PRESIDENT EMERITUS, HISTORIC DEERFIELD
Philip Zea became of President of Historic Deerfield, Inc., in 2003. He worked as Vice President for Museums and Collections at the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities (now Historic New England) in Boston between 2001 and 2003 and prior to that as Curator of Furniture at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation in Williamsburg, Virginia, beginning in 1999. He was employed previously by Historic Deerfield for eighteen years, concluding as Deputy Director and Chief Curator. Phil has also been a staff member of the New Hampshire Historical Society and a consultant to many museums on the topics of early furniture, clocks, and historical interpretation. A New Hampshire native, Zea holds degrees from Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut, and the Winterthur Program in Early American Culture at the University of Delaware. Phil is the 2009 recipient of the Award of Merit from the Antiques Dealers’ Association of America (ADA). He has lectured and written widely. Publications include Clock Making in New England, 1725-1825: An Interpretation of the Old Sturbridge Village Collection; The Dunlap Cabinetmakers: A Tradition in Craftsmanship; “Useful Improvements, Innumerable Temptations”: Pursuing Refinement in Rural New England, 1750-1850. His latest book with Jean M. Burks, Rich and Tasty: Vermont Furniture to 1850 won Historic New England’s 2016 Honor Book Award.