Jonathan Prown will be speaking at Museum Conversations on Wednesday, April 25, 2012. His talk in entitled “Object Lab: Chipstone’s 21st-Century Curatorial Initiative.”

In his talk, Prown will examine decorative arts museum practice and the central question of what it means to curate in the 21st century. In its innovative partnership with the Milwaukee Art Museum, the Chipstone Foundation has received considerable attention for its active pursuit of alternative and progressive modes of display and interpretation, as well as other programs such as Object Lab, the Digital Library for the Decorative Arts, and the Chipstone Think Tanks. Both in style and substance, there is much about these initiatives that moves beyond normative decorative arts curatorial practice and that instead strives to emulate patterns of scholarly activity within the academy. In his lecture, Prown will explore Chipstone’s diverse curatorial projects, many of which extend well outside the walls of the museum.

Jonathan Prown is Executive Director and Chief Curator of The Chipstone Foundation in Fox Point, Wisconsin. Prior to his current position, Prown was Assistant Curator (1988-1995), Associate Curator (1995-1998), and Curator (1998-1999) of Furniture and Sculpture at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. He received his B.A. in Art History from Colgate University and his M.A. in American Studies from The College of William & Mary. Prown has published extensively on American furniture and decorative arts and has curated or co-curated numerous exhibits at the Milwaukee Art Museum and in Colonial Williamsburg. Among his many notable achievements at the Chipstone Foundation, Prown has created a strategic institutional partnership with the Milwaukee Art Museum centered around the progressive interpretation and display of long-term and changing installations in the American Collections Galleries; supported and implemented material culture and decorative arts educational programming through a strategic partnership with the Department of Art History and the Chazen Museum of Art at the University of Wisconsin-Madison; expanded Chipstone’s book and journal publication program, which currently includes two annual publications (Ceramics in America and American Furniture); developed, a website devoted to creating substantive visual and information databases, virtual exhibits, and online versions of Chipstone’s publications; and managed Chipstone’s programmatic activities as a scholar’s center and object study lab.

Light refreshments will be served at 5:45 pm. The presentation will begin at 6:00 pm.

RSVP is required. Please click on the registration link at the bottom of this page or contact

PLEASE NOTE that our Lecture Hall can only accommodate a limited number of people, so please come early if you would like to have a seat in the main room. We also have overflow seating available; all registrants who arrive late will be seated in the overflow area.