Erin Kuykendall

Photo of Erin Kuykendall Thomas
Assistant Professor, Director of Graduate Studies, Decorative Arts & Design History,
in partnership with Smithsonian
1100 Jefferson Dr. SW, Suite 3077
, Washington, DC 20560
[email protected]


After spending several summers as an archaeologist at Jamestown with Preservation Virginia, Erin Kuykendall shifted her studies of American history, architecture, and decorative arts to the world preserved above ground, and worked for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Mount Vernon, the Reeves Collection of Chinese Export Porcelain at Washington & Lee University, and the Philadelphia Athenaeum. She served as Curator of Collections for Tudor Place Historic House & Garden, where she led the interpretation and conservation of the museum's dichronic collections. There, she contributed to the award-winning catalogue, Tudor Place: America Story Lives Here.

Before joining the Faculty of the Smithsonian's Decorative Arts and Design History MA Program, she researched the artistic legacies of southern craftsmen for the notable scholar and antiques dealer Sumpter T. Priddy III, Inc. A specialist in American material culture with an interest in pre-industrial craftsmanship and historic interiors, she teaches interdisciplinary courses on topics ranging from architecture and landscapes to the arts and politics of Revolutionary America and the early Republic.


Current Research & Projects

American material culture and the Atlantic world



  • Recipient of the "Best Regional Non-fiction (Mid-Atlantic)" Award from the Independent Publishers Book
  • "Benjamin Franklin Award (Regional)" from Independent Book Publishers Association in 2017



  • Contributor to Tudor Place: America's Story Lives Here



BA in History & Anthropology, The College of William and Mary

Certificate in Public History, The College of William and Mary

MA in American Material Culture, Winterthur Program in American Material Culture, University of Delaware

The Attingham Summer School


Professional Organizations

  • Decorative Arts Trust
  • Society of Historians of the Early American Republic