Daniel Gifford

Affiliated Professor


American popular culture, museum studies, visual culture

Dr. Gifford is a public historian who focuses on American popular and visual culture, as well as museums in American culture.  He received his PhD from George Mason University in 2011.

Daniel Gifford's career spans both academia and public history, including several years with the Smithsonian Institution.  His scholarship on American popular culture--including holidays, leisure activities, museums, and visual culture--underpins his classroom instruction as well as his many public lectures, exhibits, and digital humanities articles. His new book is The Last Voyage of the Whaling Bark Progress: New Bedford, Chicago and the Twilight of an Industry (McFarland Press, 2020). It retraces the voyage of the whaling bark Progress from New Bedford, Massachusetts to the Chicago World’s Fair, and explores questions of commemoration, historical memory, and what it means to transform a dying industry into “a museum piece.”

His first book, American Holiday Postcards 1905-1915: Imagery and Context (McFarland Press, 2013), examines deep divides at the height of the Progressive Era as expressed through holidays and holiday imagery. His expertise has been featured in numerous interviews and articles including the New York Times, Washington Post, NPR, USA Today, Slate Magazine, Time, and Smithsonian Magazine.