With the support of a Florida State University Dissertation Research Grant and the Art History Department’s Penelope Mason Dissertation Research Award, doctoral candidate Michelle Demeter traveled to New York City twice this summer to conduct dissertation research. Her project, “The Intersection of American Historical Imagination and Entertainment: A Cultural Analysis of Walt Disney’s Attractions at the 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair,” developed under the direction of Dr. Robert Neuman, focuses on Disney’s unique commingling of art and technology and its contributions to American popular visual culture.
During the course of her trips, Michelle visited archives, museums, and the site of the 1964-1965 fair at Flushing Meadows Park to view ephemera from the fair, and to review memoranda, photographs, and internal documents that offered insight into the development of each attraction, as well as their relationship to the fair’s overarching goals. The museums and archives visited included Queens Museum, Museum of the Moving Image, the New York Public Library’s Manuscripts and Archives Division, and the Museum of the City of New York.
Michelle will use her remaining Mason Award funds to travel to Springfield, Illinois, to visit the Illinois State Archives and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. Michelle was awarded the Clark Travel-to-Collections Research Fellowship, which will allow her to spend two weeks at The Henry Ford, in Dearborn, Michigan.