Reshaping Pieces of History

Portrait of Bramwell sitting on a bench smiling

Michael Bramwell ’14 (M.F.A.), a Ph.D. candidate in the College of Arts & Sciences’ Department of American Studies, is working with museums in the Southeast to re-imagine the museum experience with a focus on social justice and cultural equity.

Bramwell’s research is focused on American potter David Drake, an enslaved African American who lived in Edgefield, South Carolina. Bramwell spent part of summer 2021 with curators from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and with the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston at a plantation in rural South Carolina, exploring the remnants of pottery left behind at industrial enslavement operations, similar to where Drake was enslaved and produced pottery.

Bramwell expressed being fascinated by the cultural implications of American Studies on the organization of exhibitions and museum work.

“For me, the beauty of American studies is rooted in its interdisciplinarity,” Bramwell said, “which allows wide-ranging scholarship that is also responsive to social and cultural interests.”

Find out the ways in which Bramwell’s research is impacting museums…

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