Philippe Halbert

I entered the doctoral program in history of art at Yale University in 2015. My dissertation explores the art and material culture of creole identity in French and Spanish Louisiana, with a specific focus on bodily adornment and how attention to physical appearance both fueled and reflected competing bids for distinction and supremacy between indigenous peoples of the Lower Mississippi Valley, European immigrants and Euro-Louisianans, and free and enslaved Africans.

I received a BA in history and French from the College of William and Mary in 2011, along with a certificate in early American history from the National Institute of American History and Democracy. Before heading back to school, I completed a summer fellowship at Historic Deerfield, where I undertook research on velvet masks worn by colonial women to protect their faces from the sun and, in some instances, subvert the social order. I was always interested in objects, and received an MA from the Winterthur Program in American Material Culture in 2014 with a thesis on the homes and furnishings of royal officials in New France.

I’m committed to the museum field and got my start in middle and high school, working at museums and historic sites in my own backyard outside Washington, DC, including the 1753 Carlyle House, Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, and the Claude Moore Colonial Farm. When I’m not writing, you can probably find me visiting a museum or historic house, browsing in an antique mall, or Instagramming something with #vastearlyamerica and an embarrassing number of other hashtags. My personal research log and website can be found here.