Profile profile for schaeferjacobsd

Debbie Schaefer-Jacobs


Pre-doctorate studies in Public History at George Mason University
M.A. Texas Tech University, Museum Science, minors: History, Art History, Historic Preservation
B.A. with Distinction, University of Rhode Island; Major 1 History, Major 2 Art History, Phi Alpha Theta, president; Mortar Board

Research Specialties: 

• History of American education through artifacts including:
History of the American school desk, Americanization in the classroom, Material culture of women's education in the 18th, 19th, and early 20th Centuries, and objects promoting the literacy of American youth
• Educational toys and games
• 19th century American prints especially Civil War popular prints
• Visual studies and American material culture
• Collection documentation, digitization, and classification of artifacts of the home

Role in Museum: 
  •    Curator of the Education Collections including the Dr Richard Lodish American School Collection
  •    Curator of the Harry T. Peters America on Stone Collection  (19th century prints)
  •    Associate Curator in the Division of Culture and Community Life (formerly Home and Community Life)

• History of American education exhibit and book
• Preparation and augmentation of collection information for web access

Past Projects:
• Team member/co-curator for Many Voices, One Nation exhibition, opened June 2017
• Numerous projects concerning development, maintenance, and use of standard practices for cataloging objects, including the development and promotion of Documentation Standards for NMAH Collections.
• Developed object classifications with curatorial staff. Edited the on-line collections information system and provided assistance with research and development of NMAH authority records.
• Team member on major information architecture projects for NMAH 1982-2002; on SI and international committees including NMAH functional model, NMAH Data Model, SI Data Content Committee, and Roles and Transaction Terms documents.
• Provided MultiMimsy XG staff training 1996-2007.
• Member of exhibit de-installation original NMAH First Ladies exhibition.
• Team leader for NMAH shelf inventory editors and the development of the Museum Information Retrieval and Documentation System in the 1980s.

Awards, Honors, and Special Recognition: 

Presentations and Lectures:

Interpreting School Segregation in Museum Exhibitions

Some Assembly Required: The Student Seat and Schoolhouse Furniture 1845-1945

Patriotism in the Classroom: The Material Culture of Americanization 1880-1915 (2015)

American Education Objects Out of Storage

Civil War Objects Out of Storage (2013-present)

Introduction to the Harry T Peters “America on Stone” Print Collection (2010-present)

How to Teach and Old Catalogue New Tricks (1999)





  • National Judge/ team captain for annual National History Day competition, College Park, Maryland
  • Community volunteer with Friends of the Kings Park Library, Fairfax County, Va
  • As a formerly active PTA member (1990-2005) was nominated Volunteer of the Year for Fairfax County, Virginia. 
  • Promotes the future of the museum profession by mentoring NMAH interns in collections management and collaborating with them on projects. Her intern's collection focused blogs include:
Professional Affiliations: 

American Alliance of Museums
Country School Association of America
History of Education Society
Organization of American Historians
National Trust for Historic Preservation