The next Chief Curator: Amanda L. Mahoney, Ph.D., R.N.

Amanda MahoneyThe College of Arts and Sciences is pleased to announce that a Search Committee, chaired by Alan J. Rocke (Distinguished University Professor and Emeritus Professor of History at CWRU), recently fulfilled its charge of recommending to Dean Cyrus Taylor a candidate for Chief Curator of the Dittrick Medical History Center and Museum. Dean Taylor accepted the Search Committee’s recommendation after a personal on campus interview, and offered the position to Dr. Amanda L. Mahoney. Dr. Mahoney accepted the invitation and will begin at the Dittrick on December 3, 2018.

Dr. Amanda L. Mahoney brings to the Dittrick ample hands-on museum experience and distinguished academic credentials appropriate to the collections she will curate and direct. Mahoney completed her doctorate at the Barbara Bates Center for the Study of the History of Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania in 2016. Her dissertation examined the critical role of nurses at work in important clinical trials during the 1930s through 1960s. In the era before formal study protocols, nurses shouldered the responsibility of ensuring high-quality scientific data through their authority over the patient bedside. Nurses also drew on their extensive technological and social skills to implement experimental technologies such as feeding pumps in the understaffed hospitals of the mid-20th century. Dr. Mahoney has continued to explore the history of nurses and clinical technology in her postdoctoral fellowship.

As Public History Fellow in 20th-century clinical medicine and the Science History Institute, Dr. Mahoney employs the organization’s museum collections to engage different audiences with the history of the health and life sciences. Her work fosters dialogue on the often fraught relationship between science, society, and the body, and challenges clinicians and scientists to think critically about the influence of historical, social, and cultural context on their practice. Dr. Mahoney builds exhibitions, programs, social media, and conference workshops that explore the connections between science, clinical practice, and health-related technologies. Her work also promotes the value of material culture as a scholarly resource and teaching tool. The Search Committee concluded that by virtue of all these considerations, her academic qualification, and her museum experience eminently qualified Dr. Mahoney as the next Chief Curator of the Dittrick.