Programs > Academic Programs

Center for Historic American Visual Culture (CHAViC)

Established in 2005, The Center for Historic American Visual Culture (CHAViC) at the American Antiquarian Society (AAS) seeks to provide opportunities for educators on all levels to learn about American visual culture and resources, promote the awareness of AAS collections, and stimulate research and intellectual inquiry into American visual materials. CHAViC will accomplish these goals by offering short-term research fellowships, online exhibitions, workshops and seminars, conferences, and improved access to AAS collections. The very rich collections of visual materials include maps, prints, photography, illustrated books and serials, and ephemera. These collections are described in depth on the AAS website under the library collections page.



Scholars interested in using AAS visual collections are encouraged to apply to the fellowship program for funding. There are currently a dozen fellowships to support research by scholars using visual collections. One fellowship is funded by the American Historical Print Collectors Society to support research using prints. Another fellowship, The Drawn to Art fellowship endowed by Diana Korzenik, is for scholars using prints or studying visual culture in broader terms. Jay and Deborah Last are providing support for an additional ten short-term fellowships. Scholars are eligible for other fellowships at AAS as well. Visual artists wishing to use historic materials as a source for their art should apply to the competition for Creative and Performing Artists and Writers.



CHAViC is sponsoring annual conferences to encourage research. Essays based on the presentations will be published.

2009 - Destined for Men: Visual Materials for Male Audiences, 1750-1880

2008 - Home, School, Play, Work: The Visual and Textual Worlds of Children

2007 - Fields of Vision: The Material and Visual Culture of New England, 1600-1830


Workshops and Seminars

One of the goals of the Center is to engage teachers on all levels to make images more accessible to them and their students. We will accomplish this with a series of workshops at AAS. A five-day 2010 CHAViC Summer Seminar is being planned. This program will include sessions on print processes, the history of American prints, and special topics such as political prints, portraits, and reading race.



AAS has no physical exhibition spaces, but has created several online exhibitions in recent years. Topics in include A Woman's Work is Never Done, Architectural Resources at the American Antiquarian Society, the David Claypoole Johnston Collection, Visions of Christmas, Portraits! Worcester Portraits in the American Antiquarian Society Collection, Making Valentines: A Tradition in America, and Summer Vacationing in New England, A History of Social Dance in America, and food production and distribution in the second half of the nineteenth century. AAS has also made a commitment to collaborate with museums or special collection libraries in academic settings to use AAS materials in offsite exhibitions or seminars.

For more information, please contact Georgia B. Barnhill, director of CHAViC: Gbarnhill[at] or (508) 471-2173.


Workshops and Seminars
Access to AAS Collections

Links to related sites prepared for the 2009 Chavic Summer Seminar

Upcoming Events

June 20-25, 2010
2010 CHAVIC Summer Seminar

November 5-6, 2010
Historical Prints—Fact and Fiction

Past conferences:

Reward of 
Merit Destined for Men: Visual Materials for Male Audiences, 1750 - 1880

Reward of 
Merit Home, School, Play, Work: The Visual and Textual Worlds of Children

A Thousand Words: Images and Literacy in U.S. History, a one-day Saturday workshop for teachers

Fields of Vision: The Material and Visual Culture of New England, 1600-1830 a two-day conference co-sponsored by CHAVIC and the Colonial Society of Massachusetts

Visualizing the Past: A One-Day Conference for K-12 Educators

The April 2007 issue of the online journal Common-place is devoted to graphics in nineteenth-century America.