Decorative Arts & Design History

Smithsonian Associates in partnership with
The George Washington University

Jennifer Goldsborough

Jennifer Goldsborough

American and British cultural history (with a special focus on dining customs and table-settings), silver, ceramics


Jennifer Goldsborough has served as an American arts curator in large and small fine arts and history museums since 1964. She has taught graduate courses in the history of silver and ceramics since 1985 and has developed courses in other aspects of decorative arts and material culture history. She has taught undergraduate art history courses since 1996. In the curatorial sphere she served as co-curator of the 1992 exhibition Mining the Museum: An Installation by Fred Wilson which received the 1993 award from the American Association of Museums as the best exhibition of the year. She was voted “Teacher of the Year” by her students in the Cooper-Hewitt/Parson’s School of Design Masters Program in 2004 and received an Outstanding Service Award from Chesapeake College in 2005.

Ms. Goldsborough has curated notable exhibitions on subjects as diverse as silver in the State of Delaware, twentieth-century American portraiture, the Civil War, the War of 1812, Baltimore album quilts, Chesapeake Bay duck decoys, and teaching history through art and artifacts.

She has lectured on various aspects of the decorative arts at major museums, colleges, and symposia in almost every state of the Union. She has also written numerous articles for scholarly journals such as the Journal of the English Silver Society and the journal of the American Quilt Study Group. She regularly contributes articles to The Magazine Antiques, Silver Magazine, the catalogue of The Washington Antiques Show, and many similar publications.

Selected Publications

Ms. Goldsborough is the sole or co-author of the following books and museum catalogues: 

Lavish Legacies: Baltimore Album and Related Quilts in the Collection of the Maryland Historical Society (Baltimore, Maryland Historical Society, 1994)

Classical Maryland, 1815-1845 (with Gregory Weidman; Baltimore: Maryland Historical Society, 1993)

Women Silversmiths (with Philippa Glanville; London & NY: Thames & Hudson, 1991)

Silver in Maryland (Baltimore: Maryland Historical Society, 1983) 

Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Maryland Silver (Baltimore: The Baltimore Museum, 1975)

New London, Connecticut Silver (New London, CT: Lyman Allyn Museum, 1969)

She also is a major contributing author for:

Rococo Silver in England and Its Colonies (London: The Journal of the Silver Society, 2006)

Feeding Desire: Design and the Tools of the Table (NY: Assouline for The Smithsonian Institution, 2006)

Becoming a Nation: Americana from the Diplomatic Reception Rooms (NY: Rizzoli, 2003)

The Biggs Museum Collection (Dover, DE: 2002)

Treasures of State: Fine and Decorative Arts in the Diplomatic Reception Rooms of the U.S. Department of State (NY: Abrams, 1992)

Courses Taught

Survey of Silver
Survey of Ceramics
Decorative Arts of Dining
Symbolism in the Decorative Arts
Chinese and Japanese Influence on Western Decorative Arts