"Mythos, Memory, and History: African American Preservation Efforts, 1820-1990."
Museums and Communities: The Politics of Public Culture. Ivan Karp, Christine Mullen Kreamer, and Steven D. Lavine, eds. Smithsonian Institution Press, 1992.
Detailed analysis of the preservation of objects, folklore, music, governmental records over the 19th and 20th centuries.
"Culture Wars Won and Lost: Ethnic Museums on the Mall,"
in Radical History Review. Two-part article. No. 68, Spring, 1997 and No. 70 Winter, 1998. (Part One: The Holocaust Memorial Museum and the National Museum of the American Indian. Part Two: The African American Museum on the Mall Project.)
Comparison of the work in the 1980s and 1990s to found the National Museum of the American Indian, the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. and the earlier unsuccessful attempt to pass legislation to put an African American Museum on the Mall.
Co-author with Paul Ruffins. Black Issues in Higher Education. Vol. 13, No.25 February 2, 1997.
Brief history of Black efforts to preserve African American history in collections.
"The Politics of Cultural Ownership."
AIGA Journal of Graphic Design. Vol. 14, No. 1. January, 1996. (American Institute of Graphic Arts.)
Brief analysis of the struggles over control of ethnic images in 20th century U.S.A.
"Lifting As We Climb': Black Women and the Preservation of African American History and Culture."
Gender and History. Vol. 6, No. 3. November, 1994.
Analysis of the special role that Black women have played in the preservation of African American history.
"A Faithful Witness': Afro-American Public History in Historical Perspective,"
with Jeffrey Stewart. Presenting the Past: Critical Perspectives on History and the Public. Susan Porter Benson, Stephen Brier, and Roy Rosenzweig, eds. Temple University Press, 1986.
Detailed analysis of the relationship between professional historians and "organic historians" of the African American experience.
"Reflecting on Ethnic Imagery in the Landscape of Commerce 1945–1975"
in Getting and Spending: American and European Consumption in the Twentieth Century. Charles McGovern, Susan Strasser, and Matthias Judt, eds. Cambridge University Press, 1999.
Analysis of the images of ethnicity in American advertising,both television and print, between World War II and the Vietnam War.
"Revisiting the Old Plantation: Reparations, Reconciliation, and Museumizing American Slavery.”
Museums Frictions ed. by Ivan Karp and Corrine Kratz. In press.
Comments on emerging museums of slavery and their efforts to put that history on exhibition.
"Four African American Women on the National Landscape"
in Restoring Women's History through Historic Preservation. Gail Dubrow, ed. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002.
Analyzes the preservation history of four African American women: Harriet Tubman, Mary McLeod Bethune, Maggie Walker, and Madame C. J. Walker.
“Sites of Memory, Sites of Struggle: The ‘Materials’ of History”
in Major Problems in African American History. Volume 1: From Slavery to Freedom, 1619–1865 . Thomas Holt and Elsa Barkley Brown eds. Houghton Mifflin Company, 1999.
Brief analysis of issues involved in earlier attempts to put an African American museum on the mall.
“Breaking Down Cancer,”
The Scientist, 14:4 (February 21, 2000) 39.
A Kind of Fate: Agricultural Change in Virginia, 1861–1920.
(Ames: Iowa State University Press, 2000).
“The Promise of Gene Medicine,”
The World & I (a publication of the Washington Times) 15:5 (May 2000) 147–149.
“Livestock and the Disease Crisis of the Civil War,”
Crossfire: The Magazine of the American Civil War Roundtable (UK), 64 (December 2000) 31â€“37.
“Biological Thought in Eighteenth-Century Agriculture,”
Magnolia (Bulletin of the Southern Garden History Society) XVI:2 (Winter 2000-2001): 1-7.
"Farming, Disease, and Change in the Chesapeake Ecosystem,"
Chapter 14 in Discovering the Chesapeake: The History of an Ecosystem, edited by Philip D. Curtin, Grace S. Brush, and George W. Fisher. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001.
"Measuring Infinity: Jose de Rivera's Smithsonian Sculpture on the National Mall"
Curator:The Museum Journal, Vol. 51 No. 2, April 2008, pp 179-185.
Recounts the origins, fabrication, and varied meanings of Infinity, the sculpture created for the museum in 1967 by Jose de Rivera.
"Artifacts of Disaster: Creating the Smithsonian's Katrina Collection"
Technology and Culture, April, 2006, vol. 47, no. 2, pp. 357–368.
Surveys the process undertaken to collect museum objects from the Gulf Coast in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, what was collected, and the rationale behind their selection.
“Elephant Under Glass: The Piano Key Bleach House of Deep River, Connecticut,”
in IA, Journal of the Society for Industrial Archeology, Vol. 19 No. 2 (1992), pp. 37–59.
Uses the only surviving piano key bleach house to describe and illustrate the stages of manufacture from elephant tusks to finished piano keys, 1800–1950.
“Manufacturing Secrecy: The Dueling Cymbalmakers of North America,”
in IA, Journal of the Society for Industrial Archeology, Vol. 15 No. 1 (1989), pp. 35–53.
Compares the manufacturing processes of the Zildjian and Sabian cymbal factories, focusing on a family metallurgical secret dating from the 17th century.
“Stairway to Redemption: America’s Encounter with the British Prison Treadmill,”
in Technology and Culture, Journal of the Society for the History of Technology, Vol. 30 No. 4 (October 1989), pp. 908–938.
Reviews the history of the British prison treadmill and treadwheel, and explores its uneven introduction into the early American penal system in the 1820s.
“Footpower in the Developing World: An American Precedent?”
in Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on the Conservation of the Industrial Heritage, Vol 2 No. 1 (1986), pp. 45–54.
Examines the rise of early American foot-powered machinery in the woodworking and metalcutting industries, speculating
on the transferability of such innovation to the modern developing world.
“The Jewish Way of Death,”
Folklore Forum, Vol 29 No. 1 (1998), pp. 109–112.
Uses two sets of NMAH artifacts (coffins and ritual animal-killing knives) to compare and contrast Orthodox Jewish
approaches toward cleanliness, pain, life, and death.
“Keeping Time in Guyana,”
with W. David Todd. Americas, Vol. 49 No. 6 (Nov–Dec 1997), pp. 6–13.
Encapsulates several years of work in the Republic of Guyana studying, repairing, and recording 19th-century tower clocks and bells. Addresses Guyanese perceptions of public timekeeping and time consciousness.
“The Material Culture of Ivory Outside Africa,”
in Elephant, The Animal and Its Ivory in African Culture, edited by Doran H. Ross (Los Angeles: Fowler Museum, UCLA, 1992), pp. 366–381.
Chronicles the rise of the elephant ivory industry from Byzantine craft shops to 20th-century American comb, billiard
ball, and piano key factories.