Distinctive Programs and People

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Student Curating

The Berman Museum of Art is a place where both students and alumni can obtain the valuable hands-on experience of curating exhibitions. The summer 2011 exhibition, Liminality and the Ephemera: To Enter and Exit, Mark Unmark, featured recent graduates of The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and was curated by Menaka Gopalan 2007.

The fall 2011 exhibition was organized by Lisa Minardi 2005, an assistant curator at Winterthur. The landmark exhibition, Pastor & Patriarch: Henry Melchior Muhlenberg and his Legacy, 1711-2011, celebrated the 300th anniversary of the birth of Henry Melchior Muhlenberg. Minardi was a Museum Studies major at Ursinus, and curated two exhibitions while she was a student alongside classmate Sara Kauffman in 2005. Robert Ellison 2008, an art major double with business, also had the opportunity to work in curation at the Berman Museum, with The Art in Looking: A Student’s View of Albert Barnes’ Vision. The Moorestown, N.J. native was the first student to complete the museum’s uratorial initiative, two intensive semesters of coursework open to juniors, culminating in the curating and installation of an exhibition.

The museum acts not only as a desitnation to view art, but also as a resource for innovative educational programming. The Museum serves as a laboratory for students in all disciplines to do independent research on objects, develop Summer Fellows projects that incorporate a visual component, or to work as museum assistants with hands-on opportunities in all facets of the museum operation.

The Lantern - OuR literary magazine

The Lantern has lit the Ursinus campus for more than 75 years, as the college literary magazine. The book, which is devoured each spring by faculty and students who find it in serendipitous places about the campus, has its origins as an eight-page literary supplement in Ursinus Weekly newspaper in the 1900s. In 1933, however, a note in the first stand-alone publication explained that a newspaper reports the news, and precludes, “to a great degree, individual expression in the literary field.”

From then on, literary expression has thrived in the Lantern. The name honors the top of Pfahler Hall, and symbolizes “the light shed by creative work,” according to the first issue. Professor of English Jon Volkmer, who heads the Ursinus Creative Writing program, is the longtime Lantern faculty advisor. “I have seen so many works such of courage and beauty and humor that I can only shake my head in amazement,” he stated in a 2008 Ursinus Magazine article about the Lantern. “The students gladly take on the work and responsibility, and …. produce a wonderful literary journal.”

Alumnus Dan Sergeant, who was the editor during the Lantern’s 75th year, said in the magazine that “the Lantern really is an Ursinus publication in every sense of the word. This magazine feeds off the input of the entire campus.” Learn more about the Lantern>


Professor Dallett Hemphill,

a Prominent american historian

Professor of History Dallett Hemphill reminds us that the importance of siblings is often overlooked in the history of the American family. But siblings have helped each other, and leaned on one another, in the face of the dramatic political, economic and cultural changes of the 18th and 19th centuries. Dr. Hemphill is the author of Siblings, Brothers and Sisters in American History, published this summer (2011) by Oxford University Press.

According to the publisher, “based on a wealth of family papers, period images, and popular literature, this is the first book devoted the broad history of sibling relations, spanning the long period of transition from early to modern America.”

In Colonial America, sibling relations were an egalitarian dynamic within the larger patriarchal family and society. After the Revolutionary War, sibling relations provided order and authority in a more democratic nation. As the next generation, they always served as a link to the family past. Research on the book was funded by a fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies.

This is Dr. Hemphill’s second book on an aspect of early American history. She is also the author of Bowing to Necessities: A History of Manners in America, 1620-1860. (Oxford University Press), which is a look at the regulation of class, age, and gender relations in America, from the frontier life of the 1600s to the democratic modernity of the mid-19th Century. This book stemmed from a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

A prominent American historian, she teaches in the American Studies and in the History departments at Ursinus College. She teaches courses in Early American history (from the era of European settlement through the Civil War), women’s and family history, and the history of Philadelphia. She developed a course which uses Philadelphia as a text, teaching how the citizens of Philadelphia have shaped its history, over the last 300 years.

Dr. Hemphill is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Princeton University with a Ph.D. from Brandeis. A specialist in American colonial, social and women’s history, she is the author of a number of scholarly papers and articles and served as etiquette consultant for “Mary Silliman’s War,” a film about an American family during the revolutionary war. She recently enjoyed teaching family and urban history in France with the Ursinus in Paris program.



J.D. Salinger

Ursinus historians have always been intrigued that writer J.D. Salinger was a student during the fall of 1938. In fact, the library holds his early newspaper columns in The Ursinus Weekly, which he called, J.D.S.’s The Skipped Diploma. He was also, briefly, the campus theater critic. A plaque on the door on the third floor of Curtis Hall reminds students that Salinger “slept here.”

But the idea that he probably typed at the small window looking over the front lawn facing Main Street is also encouragement for similar, quirky young writers with promise, incoming freshman winners of The Ursinus College Creative Writing Award, who get to reside in that room.

The New York Times found the Ursinus-Salinger connection of interest, and dispatched a reporter to write a story that ran on the front page March 21, 2011. It described how the winners of the Creative Writing Award are chosen for voice, not similarity to one of Salinger’s works, and that the original name of the award after Salinger himself was changed in deference to his request. The scholarship is meant to reward originality and potential, based on portfolios that young writers submit. According to the criteria, ”In the spirit of Holden Caulfield and Catcher in the Rye, we are looking for an unusual perspective, for quirky brilliance, for a voice, not necessarily the kind that can be measured by conventional standards. Mr. Salinger never graduated, but we like to think that if his genius had been recognized with an award like this, he might have.”