Assistant Professor of History
Ph.D., 2007, United States History,
360 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
Victoria Cain is an assistant professor of history at Northeastern University, where she studies visual culture and popular knowledge in the late nineteenth and twentieth-century United States. She has published articles on the history of museums, exhibition, and photography in Paedagogica Historica, the Journal of Visual Culture, Science in Context, American Quarterly and other peer reviewed journals. Her first book, Life on Display: Revolutionizing Museums of Science and Nature in the United States (University of Chicago Press, 2014), co-authored with Dr. Karen Rader, is a social and cultural history of exhibition in twentieth-century museums of science and nature. It explains how and why scientists, artists, educators and federal policy-makers used exhibition to transform public understandings of science–and ended up redefining American museums in the process.
- Life on Display: Education, Exhibition and Museums in the Twentieth-Century United States, co-authored with Karen Rader, under contract with the University of Chicago Press.
- Republication of “From natural history to science: Display and the transformation of American museums of science and nature,” co-authored with Karen Rader, chapter in Museum Studies: An Anthology of Contexts, 2nd edition, ed. Bettina Carbonell (New York: Wiley-Blackwell), 2012.
- “Attraction, Attention, and Desire: Consumer Culture as Pedagogical Paradigm in Museums in the United States, 1900-1930,” Paedagogica Historica: International Journal of the History of Education, June 20, 2012, DOI: 10.1080/00309230.2012.667422.
- “The Craftsmanship Aesthetic: Showing Making at the American Museum of Natural History, 1910-45,” The Journal of Modern Craft, v. 5, no. 1, March 2012, pp. 25-50
- “Professor Carter’s Cabin: Amateur Collectors and Natural History Museums,” Common-place, vol. 12, no. 2, January 2012.
- “‘An Indirect Influence Upon Industry: Rockefeller Philanthropies and the Development of Educational Film in the United States, 1935-53,” chapter in Learning with the Lights Off: Educational Film in the United States, ed. Marsha Orgeron, Devin Orgeron and Dan Streible (New York: Oxford University Press), 2011.
- “The Art of Authority: Exhibits, Exhibit Makers and the Contest for Scientific Status at the American Museum of Natural History, 1920-1940,” Science in Context, special issue on “Lay Observation in the Life Sciences,” vol. 24, issue 2, April 2011, pp. 215-238.
- “‘The Direct Medium of the Vision': Visual Education, Virtual Witnessing and the American Museum of Natural History, 1890-1923,” Journal of Visual Culture, special issue on “Capturing the Moment: Visual Evidence and Eyewitnessing,” v. 10, no. 3, December 2010.
- “Specimens, Stereopticons and Science Education: The Evolution of the Davenport Academy of Natural Sciences,” Annals of Iowa, v. 68, no. 1, Winter 2009, pp. 1-35.
- “Exhibitionary Complexity: Reconsidering Museums’ Cultural Authority,” American Quarterly, v. 60, no. 4, December 2008, pp. 1143-1153.
- “Albert Bickmore: Brief Life of a Museum Impresario, 1839-1914,” Harvard Magazine, September 2008, pp. 38-39.
- “From natural history to science: Display and the transformation of American museums of science and nature,” co-authored with Karen Rader, museum + society, vol. 6, issue 2, July 2008, pp. 152-171.
- “‘Mind’ Games,” exhibition review for Museum News, May/June 2008.
Awards and Honors
- Mellon / Shoah Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship in Visual History, University of Southern California, 2007-2009
- National Academy of Education / Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2008-2009
- Visiting Scholar at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2006-2007
- Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy Fellowship, 2005-2006
- American Association of University Women Dissertation Fellowship, 2005-2006
- Jay Fellowship, Columbia University, 2001-2005
- Hofstadter Fellowship, Columbia University, 2000