Meet Evan Binkley, Undergraduate Researcher

During the initial phase of funding for the “Making African Art” project in the summer of 2018, I conducted extensive archival research on the influence of the Peace Corps in the development of the field of African art history. In particular, I reviewed the holdings at in the Washington, D.C. area: the Peace Corps Community Archive at American University and National Archives in College Park, Maryland. It was an incredibly rewarding experience to compare the personal experiences of African Peace Corps volunteers at the Community Archive to official, government documents at the National Archives. My summer research was particularly rewarding in that I was able to explore both unofficial and official domains of exposure to African art many of the first Peace Corps volunteers encountered in the 1960s. Research practices which I developed during archival research were incredibly helpful in my summer position as an Education Department Intern at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. I am excited to conduct future research visits as the project evolves over the coming years.