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December 5, 2013

Author, professor to speak on Smithsonian

A SUNY Oneonta professor recognized for excellence outside the classroom will deliver a lecture today on the Smithsonian Museum. 

William Walker, assistant professor of history in SUNY Oneonta’s Cooperstown Graduate Program, has been awarded the 2013 Richard Siegfried Junior Faculty Prize for Academic Excellence. Walker will deliver the 19th annual Richard Siegfried Lecture, “Telling Diverse Stories of American Life at the Smithsonian,” at 7:30 p.m. today in the Craven Lounge of the Morris Conference Center.

The presentation, and a dessert reception preceding it at 7 p.m., are open to the public. 

A 2013 recipient of the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, Walker teaches courses in oral history, public history, American social and cultural history, and the history of museums for the CGP, a two-year master’s degree program in history museum studies offered through a unique partnership between SUNY Oneonta and the New York State Historical Association.

Walker earned a bachelor’s degree in American studies and English at Cornell University and a doctorate in American history at Brandeis University. His research interests include the ways in which museums can use historical narratives to engage contemporary social and cultural issues. He has published numerous scholarly essays and articles, as well as a book, “A Living Exhibition: The Smithsonian and the Transformation of the Universal Museum,” (University of Massachusetts Press, 2013), which tracks the transformation of the Smithsonian from its original ideal as a “universal museum” intended to present the totality of human experience to the variegated museum and research complex of today. 

Walker also serves as co-editor of New York History, which has been published continuously since 1919 and is the only scholarly journal devoted entirely to the history of New York state.

According to a media release from the college, the Siegfried Prize recognizes a non-tenured faculty member for outstanding academic achievement outside the classroom. The award is made possible by a gift from Alice Siegfried to the College at Oneonta Foundation in memory of her husband, theater Professor Richard K. Siegfried, who taught at the college from 1958 to 1995.

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