Winterthur Program in American Material Culture

Mel Buchanan, Class of 2005
Assistant Curator of 20th-century Design, Milwaukee Art Museum

Mel Buchanan began object study while an undergraduate in American Studies at Yale University. Fascinated that her material culture professors could demonstrate big ideas through everyday materials, Mel followed their academic path to Winterthur. After graduation, she worked at the Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, where she expanded her interests to include current design and craft from RISD’s vibrant art community. Now at the Milwaukee Art Museum, she installs and builds the permanent collection, plans programs with Museum support groups, collaborates with Milwaukee’s Chipstone Foundation on projects, and oversees exhibitions ranging from 18th-century quilts to contemporary European design.