Abigail Shelton

Shelton Abigail

Name: Abigail Shelton
Position: Outreach Specialist, Mellon Museum and Library Collaboration Grant
Email Address: ashelto3@nd.edu

What is the most rewarding aspect of your position?:
I have a background in libraries and museums so it’s a delight to be able to work in these two worlds at once. The project I’m working on aims to make the campus cultural heritage collections more accessible online and I love hearing from students and faculty about how they could envision using our digitized objects in the classroom and beyond. In my view, the wonderful thing about digital spaces is that they can facilitate creativity, innovation, and experimentation in new ways. Digital spaces can invite a wider and more diverse audience to reinterpret and reimagine collections long hidden from public view. 

How did you get into museum work?: 
I have Master’s degrees in library science and one in U.S. history so my previous experience has been in rare books and special collections libraries, a similar field to museum work. Before South Bend, my husband and I served as caretakers at an 18th-century historic house museum in Philadelphia and I got a taste for interpreting and caring for an art collection. When I knew that Notre Dame was in our future, the Snite Museum’s position requiring experience in both libraries and museums was a perfect fit!

Favorite work in the Snite Museum of Art?:
Given my background in Early American history, my favorite works at the Snite are found in our small but mighty American art collection. In particular, I love the three works by William Glackens that hang in the loft gallery on the second floor. Glackens has a strong connection to Philadelphia, as do I, and his later paintings (The Dressing Table, Sketch of a Girl in Pink) demonstrate a colorful joy of life that is a marked departure from his earlier work (Theatre in Paris). Glackens is known not only for his artwork but also for helping his friend Albert Barnes amass the collection of post-Impressionist pieces that would form the core of the Barnes Foundation, one of my favorite museums in Philadelphia.