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A Consummate Collector (05 Dec 2004)
Susan Smulyan, a Brown associate professor of American civilization who led the search committee that hired Lubar, says he was chosen for his interesting mix of experience and expertise. “Most people who work in museums and public history have not also done what faculty recognize as traditional research,” she says. Lubar has authored more than 40 articles on the history of technology and public history, and he has published six books, including Legacies: Collecting America’s History at the Smithsonian. “He has a scholarly turn of mind,” says Smulyan.

This scholarly focus is part of the legacy Lubar has left at the Smithsonian. “Steve was a real intellectual steward in pushing the staff in his division to think more broadly about their collections and ask fundamentally different kinds of questions,” says museum specialist Peter Liebhold, who accompanied us on our storage room tour. “It’s much easier to do taxonomy—to collect every one of a series. It’s much harder to think about the stray things you should collect.”
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