Click here for the introduction to the Round and Square Series "From the Geil Archive"
To learn more about Geil, click here for the Accidental Ethnographer Resource Center
A year ago on Round and Square (14 September 2012)—The New Yorker: Bobbie Ann Mason, "Shiloh"
|[a] Des Moines RF|
|[b] To do JL|
While I will always defend Des Moines and Iowa as a beautiful, diverse, and vibrant place, I didn't want to stay there for college. I ended up at Beloit mostly because it was on the list of schools I could get a tuition exchange scholarship at (my mom worked at Drake University in Des Moines), but also because I had heard about their wonderful anthropology and museum studies programs and I was sure I wanted to be an archaeologist.
As I gained experience at Beloit, I learned that I would rather be the one taking care of the objects after someone else had dug them up. In the meantime, my interest in museums, archives, and history was growing. By the end of my sophomore year I knew that I wanted to work with museum collections (indoors, preferably in a climate controlled environment.
|[c] Veteran's Museum JL|
I've always been interested in material culture, and the things that you could tell about someone just by looking at their stuff. I had also transferred in tons of history credits from a stint at the Des Moines Area Community College. I remember thinking "eh, might as well get a history major too." During my time at Beloit I learned to integrate my interests in material culture, history, anthropology, and museums, and I graduated this May with a double major in History and Anthropology and a minor in Museum Studies.
I have interned at the Wisconsin Veterans Museum in Madison, a historic house museum in Beloit, the Newberry Library in Chicago, and I spent a summer in Italy learning how to conserve archaeological ceramics.
[me leading the collections committee meeting at the vets museum
I also spent the last two summers house-sitting for Professor LaFleur and taking care of his two (adorable) cats, Vic and Rhonda.
|[d] Cathouse JL|
I've recently become interested in historic architecture, especially architecture that seeks to emulate the styles of the past, and identity as it is expressed through the built environment. My undergraduate thesis focused on the Gothic Revival architectural movement in the United States. In Doylestown, I plan to conduct research on William Edgar Geil's house, The Barrens. Parts of The Barrens were built to resemble portions of the Great Wall of China. What was Geil seeking to do when he designed this? I think the answer lies beyond the simple "He liked China," and I hope my research will reveal how identity, self-expression, and architecture are all interconnected.
Thanks for reading, and check back weekly for my posts from me!