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Faculty and Staff

 "USS Constitution & the War of 1812" workshop faculty are leaders in the field and have strong scholarly records and a demonstrated commitment to excellent teaching. Each day, Summer Scholars will hear from different presenters through lectures and discussions. These experts will spend the day with Scholars beyond the lecture to continue the conversation over lunch or on visits to historic sites and provide feedback on workshop products.



Robert Allison, Professor of History and Chair of the History Department at Suffolk University. Dr. Allison is the author of several books on the early American Republic, including Stephen Decatur: American Naval Hero, and A Short History of Boston. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the USS Constitution Museum and as co-chair of the Education Committee.


  Matthew Brenckle, Research Historian at the USS Constitution Museum, holds an MA in Maritime History from East Carolina University. Brenckle coordinated the Museum's extensive research project into the lives of crewmembers aboard Constitution during the War of 1812, is the author of numerous articles on naval material culture, and is co-author of Men of Iron: USS Constitution's War of 1812 Crew.


Margherita Desy,
 Historian at the Naval History and Heritage Command Detachment Boston and adjunct faculty member at Tufts University, holds an MA in American Civilization from George Washington University and studied at Sotheby's Institute in London. Desy serves as principal historian for USS Constitution.

William Fowler, Distinguished Professor of History at Northeastern University, has written extensively on early American naval and maritime history, including Jack Tars and Commodores: The American Navy 1783-1815, and Silas Talbot: Captain of Old Ironsides. He is the former Gay Hart Gaines Distinguished Fellow in American History at Mount Vernon, and past Director of the Massachusetts Historical Society.

  Sidney Hart, Senior Historian at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery and co-editor of the Peale Family Papers, The Selected Papers of Charles Willson Peale and His Family, 5 volumes. He most recently curated an exhibit about the War of 1812 at the Portrait Gallery, "1812: A Nation Emerges," and is co-author of the exhibit's catalogue of the same title. He has worked on a variety of historic exhibits at the National Portrait Gallery, both temporary and permanent, including "One-Life: Ronald Reagan," "The Struggle for Justice," "Presidents-in-Waiting," and "20th-Century Americans, 1900-1930."


  Donald Hickey, (Principal Scholar) Professor of History at Wayne State College, has written multiple books on the War of 1812, including The War of 1812: A Forgotten Conflict, and Don't Give Up the Ship! Hickey won the American Military Institute's Best Book Award and the National Historical Society's Book Prize and is featured in the recent PBS film "The War of 1812." Dr. Hickey serves as the Principal Scholar, working closely with Museum staff to shape the intellectual content and conversation within the workshop.


Gene Smith, Professor of History and Director of the Center for Texas Studies at Texas Christian University & Curator of History at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, is the author of numerous books including Nexus of Empire: Negotiating Loyalty and Identity in the Revolutionary Boderlands, 1760s - 1820s. Dr. Smith has received research awards from Texas Christian University, the US Navy, the US Military Academy at West Point, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. His newest publication will be out in early 2013, entitiled The Slaves' Gamble: Choosing Sides in the War of 1812. 


 Project Team:

  Rebecca Crawford, Manager of Academic & Family Programs at the USS Constitution Museum, holds an MA in Museum Education from the Rhode Island School of Design. She has over a decade of experience working with students and teachers in a variety of capacities and has delivered teacher workshops on the War of 1812 at the Museum and on the road to over 200 teachers. Her work at the Museum includes the publication of an online War of 1812 curriculum, A Sailor's Life for Me, and the creation of the Museum's educational K-12 program offerings. Prior to working at the Museum she served as a Campus Director and Teaching Fellow with Citizen Schools, the nationally aclaimed middle school after-school enrichment program. She currently serves as the Project Co-Director.



Robert Kiihne, Director of Exhibits at the USS Constitution Museum, holds a degree in History from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Kiihne was the project director for the Family Learning Project at the Museum, which has transformed the way the Museum approaches both inter-generational learning in the galleries and the entire visitor experience. He has worked with exhibit teams at museums across the region including the Boston Children's Museum, Boston National Historical Park, the New England Aquarium, and the Burndy Library at MIT. A frequent presenter on family learning and informal learning at conferences such as AAM, AASLH, and NEMA, Kiihne will work with Summer Scholars as they create hands-on interactive exhibit element prototypes.  


Rashaun Martin, District Supervisor for Social Studies and World Langauges at Haverhill Public Schools, holds a Masters in Teaching and Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies from Simmons College and a Bachelors in History from The Catholic University of American in Washington, DC. For nine years, Martin served as a teacher and Program Director for the History Department at Boston Latin School, the oldest school in America. He has served as principal of Cathedral High School located in the South End of Boston. He has worked with the USS Constitution Museum over the years as a project director for the high school job program, Youth Empowerment Summer, as a dramatic interpreter of history through his depiction of David Debias in a monologue series, and currently serves on the Museum's Board of Trustees and as co-chair of the Education Committee. Rashaun will serve as Master Educator for the Workshop, providing guidance to teachers to help them incorporate learning from the workshop in the classroom.


  Lauren McCormack, currently serving as Bicentennial Programs Coordinator at the Museum, holds an MA in American and New England Studies from Boston University and MA in American History from Brandeis University. Her time at the Museum has included positions in the curatorial department as Research Coordinator, conducting research into the lives of sailors on board USS Constitution in the War of 1812, especially those of African descent. She has served as Assistant Director of Education at Old Sturbridge Village in western Massachusetts and Executive Director of the Howard County Historical Society in Maryland. McCormack serves on this project's team in a variety of logistical support roles.


  Sarah Watkins, Director of Collections and Learning at the USS Constitution Museum, holds an MA in American Studies from the College of William and Mary, and an MS from the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at Simmons College. Watkins directed the research project and exhibit development that brought the stories of Constitution's enlisted sailors to life, and is co-author of Men of Iron: USS Constitution's War of 1812 Crew. She received an Excellence in Exhibition Label Writing award from the American Association of Museums in 2010. Watkins serves as the Project Co-Director.


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