William H. Yeingst

Chair and Curator

B.A., Allegheny College, 1976

Research Specialties: 
  • American social history
  • Household and family life with an emphasis on domestic furnishings
Projects: 

Current Projects:

  • 18,000 square foot introductory exhibition on American history, opening 2007
  • Small exhibitions on collecting artifacts from September 11, 2001, and childhood and toys
  • Acquisition of a 1949 ranch model house from Levittown, New York
  • Conducts research, collects objects, and answers public inquiries for the Division of Social History's Domestic Life Collection

Past Projects:

  • Numerous exhibitions on topics such as the sit-in at the Greensboro, North Carolina Woolworth lunch counter; the "Sixties;" Levittown, New York; American families in photographs; daily life after the American Revolution; collecting September 11, 2001.
  • Collecting initiatives to preserve and document the events of September 11, 2001, American domestic furnishings, family history; and youth cultures.
  • Television appearances such as This Old House; CBS Sunday Morning, PBS Live
Awards, Honors, and Special Recognition: 

Historic Deerfield Summer Fellowship in American Decorative Arts, 1975

Professional Affiliations: 

The George Washington University

Parsons School of Design

Publications

“Curating the Recent Past” in Henderson and Kaeppler, ed. Exhibiting Dilemmas: Issues of Representation at the Smithsonian, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1997.

The article uses the acquisition and exhibition of the Greensboro Woolworth lunch counter as a lens for examining, collecting, and interpreting the recent past. Explores the role of memory; meaning and representation; curatorial roles and obligations; politics; and race in doing public history at the Smithsonian Institution.

"Exhibiting A New Icon" with Lonnie Bunch, in Increase and Diffusion: A Smithsonian Web Magazine, 1997.

A discussion of some of the issues faced in exhibiting an icon of the American civil rights movement.

"Sitting for Justice" in Increase and Diffusion: A Smithsonian Web Magazine, 1996.

Learn how a portion of the Woolworth lunch counter from Greensboro, North Carolina, became part of the American civil rights movement collection at the National Museum of American History.