Research/Areas of Interest: History of museums, exhibitions, and collecting; history of art history; Early Modern European art and theory


  • PhD, Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London, United Kingdom
  • MA, University of East Anglia, Norwich, United Kingdom
  • BA, University College London, United Kingdom


Trained in early modern European art, I have written on painting, sculpture and architecture, but especially on the history of museums and art collecting. An overriding interest in contexts, institutional frameworks, the display and reception of art informs five of my books: Inventing the Louvre: Art, Politics, and the Origins of the Modern Museum in Eighteenth-Century Paris (1999), Art and Its Publics: Museum Studies at the Millennium (2003), and The Art Museum from Boullée to Bilbao (2008), The Art of Curating: Paul J. Sachs and the Museum Course at Harvard (2018), Revisiting History in Museums and at Historic Sites (2022). My current project, 'Rivals on the Fenway', is a book-length exploration of the simultaneous formation and complementary design of Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and Museum of Fine Arts. Drawing on archival sources, this study will offer a new vision of the overlapping trajectories of public and private art museums in the United States.

I also have an interest in Tufts' mascot, Jumbo the Elephant, and our affiliation with P.T. Barnum, an early trustee and benefactor of the university. In 2014, I chaired the committee that selected the artist for the campus statue of Jumbo and I wrote an illustrated story of his life, Jumbo: Marvel, Myth, & Mascot (2014).