Barbara Carson, Museum Leader, Passed Away

Long-time museum leader and scholar of the material culture of the Chesapeake region, Barbara G. Carson died on Friday, October 21. She suffered bravely from milofibrosis for more than twenty years and seldom complained. Her many contributions to the field included Ambitious Appetites: Dining, Behavior, and Patterns of Consumption in Federal Washington (one of best around and now hard to find), essays in the Journal of Museum Education (which continue to be reprinted), a training video for AASLH on learning from objects (a very early effort to provide training to the field using the new VHS technology), and consultation to such nationally significant sites as Gunston Hall and the Governor’s Palace in Williamsburg. She was also an active teacher and speaker, starting at George Washington University in the late 1970s and only retiring about a decade ago. Her decorative arts survey classes in the Fine Arts and Art History program and her decorative arts/material culture classes taught for American Studies at the Smithsonian (as well as those she taught for the MA program in Decorative Arts at the Smithsonian, the American Studies at the College of William and Mary, and the MESDA Summer Institute) were the training ground for several generations of museum professionals (and although I didn’t study with her, I was certainly influenced by her many articles on history and museum practice).  Barbara was a graduate of the Winterthur Program at the University of Delaware, where she met her husband, Cary. Our deepest sympathies and good memories of Barbara are shared with Cary.

1 thought on “Barbara Carson, Museum Leader, Passed Away

  1. Lynne Dakin Hastings


    Thank you for posting this. Barbara was a cherished colleague, mentor and good friend. So many of us are deeply saddened by her passing, but will always cherish her scholarship, generosity towards the field, sage advice and constant good humor. She was loved and revered.

    Lynne Dakin Hastings


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