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Curated! A Symposium on Collecting
Friday, May 4, 2018
1776 D Street NW, Washington, DC 20006

Submit Proposals to:
Submission Deadline: Monday, January 29

The DAR Museum in Washington, DC, invites proposals for our annual symposium on Friday, May 4, 2018. This year’s theme will explore the act of collecting in a decorative arts context, to compliment the museum’s new exhibit, Lately Arrived: Recent Additions to the Collections.

The DAR Museum looks at the American experience through objects and art of the American home from the 17th through early 20th century. As one of the first museums accredited by AAM, it seeks to preserve and learn from the decorative arts in America during the earlier years of this country.  

Through this symposium, the museum hopes to foster professional and academic dialogue about the decorative arts, collecting, and why we do what we do. In particular we will be examining various aspects of collecting. What do we collect? Why? How do we determine what to save, and what to discard? Who decides what is valuable enough to save? What kinds of “value” do we place on objects?

Previous symposia have brought in speakers and attendees from across the country and included museum professionals, academic professors, graduate students, and independent researchers.  We look forward to an equally diverse group of presenters for this symposium.

Topics of interest

  • Recent trends in collecting
  • Parameters for collecting
  • History of collecting
  • A short, in-depth analysis of collecting a specific type of decorative arts object
  • How to distinguish forgeries from genuine articles
  • Collecting ethics
  • Disposition of collections
  • Connoisseurship
  • Record keeping
  • Building a collection

Guide for Submission

The deadline to submit proposals is Monday, January 29, 2018

You have two options to submit your proposal:

1- Fill out the online form here:


2- Send a PDF to with the subject line “DAR Museum symposium proposal.”

The submission should include:

  • Your name, phone, email, and mailing address
  • Your title and organizational affiliation (if applicable)
  • Title of session
  • 300-500 word abstract that states the topic of the session, summarizes the content, and emphasizes the relevance to symposium attendees. Include the types of sources used in your research.
  • Short biography including relevant qualifications
  • Which of these options you are proposing:
    • 45-minute presentation
    • 15-minute presentation on a focused, specific topic, to be grouped with other similar presentations as deemed appropriate by the museum (this option is ideal for graduate student papers)
  • Indicate any speaker fees or travel accommodations you are requesting (if applicable)

Proposals will be juried and accepted based on their relevance to the symposium theme, usefulness to the attendees, and strength of the written abstract. The museum aims to welcome a diverse group of speakers with a variety of experiences and areas of expertise.

Deadline for submission:  Monday, January 29, 2018

For any inquiries, please contact: Katie Cannon

We look forward to seeing you at Curated! A Symposium on Collecting

Katie Cannon
Curator of Education
DAR Museum