Katherine T. Brown, Ph.D.,
Director of Museum Studies and Assistant Professor of Art History, Walsh University, North Canton

Meet the Board: Katherine T. Brown, Ph.D.

Please tell us a little bit about where you work and what you do there.

Now in my sixth year, I teach Museum Studies and Art History at Walsh University, a private Catholic university that serves approximately 3,000 students in North Canton. In addition to designing curriculum for both majors and teaching, I curate exhibitions for the Atrium Gallery in the Birk Center for the Arts and work closely with the Hoover Historical Center on campus. I also teach periodically on Walsh’s Global Learning campus in Castel Gandolfo, Italy, which is right outside of Rome.

What is your earliest museum memory?

My mother taught art classes in our local museum, which had a combined mission of science and art, and in my high school. She took me to her clay, watercolor, mixed- media classes from the time I was 4 or 5 until I graduated. Also while in high school, I visited New York city several times, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Frick Collection, and the Museum of Modern Art make formidable impressions on me.

What led you to go into the museum field?

I have always found cultural value in the power of artifacts and works of art to tell stories with or without words. I first learned about Greek mythology by looking a vase paintings. I studied the French Revolution looking at David. I’ve looked at quilts and folk art to try to further my understanding of American art traditions. My area of specialization is Italian Renaissance art, and going frequently to Italy is very much like immersing myself in an open-air museum. My definition of museums is broad and includes archaeology sites, churches/synagogues/mosques, domestic architecture, or other places of cultural resonance.

What is your workspace like?

I have an office with a window in the Birk Center for the Arts on Walsh’s campus. Although I do spent a lot of time in there, I also think of my extended office space as the Birk Atrium Gallery, the Hoover Historical Center, the main Library, local museums where our students intern, and study abroad programs!

What item in your office can you not live without?
My window with natural light!

 

Describe your favorite work memory. What was your best day like?

My best days are when I feel like I’ve connected with students. I can see it when a light turns on in a student’s mind, or when he or she is starting to understand a cultural idea for the first time. I love it when they ask more questions, or better yet when they teach me a new idea. I learn from them as much as they learn from me.

What does your dream museum look like?
It’s in Italy, free admission, and has frescoes on the ceiling.

What is the best advice you have ever received?

You must be present to win!! As much as I appreciate technology, there is no substitute for seeing a work of art or an artifact in person or having a face-to-face discussion about ideas in a classroom full of students.

What are you currently reading?

Medieval Art by Marilyn Stokstad.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Museums are the place for free-choice learning about culture, history, art and science. Bring your friends and explore!