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Megan Martinelli

Megan Martinelli

  • Hometown: Providence, Rhode Island
  • Major: Master of Science: Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design – Historic Costume and Textiles
  • Graduation Year: 2013

Why did you choose TMD?
A life-long fascination with dress, fashion culture and art merged with a passion for history and the past led me to the study of historic textiles and costumes.

What inspired you to pursue this career path?
I spent much of my childhood reading the American Girl books and collecting the dolls. Each character in the books had a historical wardrobe accompanying her adventurous story, which I loved. I also have three older sisters, whose clothing and fashion magazines were passed down into my eager hands. Whenever I read anything, whether it was for school or pleasure, I’d try to imagine what the person was wearing, and why.

Why did you choose URI?
I chose URI because I wanted to attend graduate school locally and because of the excellent reputation of the faculty in Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design. I was also interested in working someplace with an established Historic Textiles and Costume Collection that would allow me conservation and curatorial experience.

What has been the best part of your studies at URI?
I really enjoyed many of the course requirements – everything from Textile Science to Research Methods has been very beneficial to me. It sounds silly, but I saved nearly all of my notes and kept all of my textbooks. I feel that my favorite part, however, has been finally settling on a thesis topic that truly suits my interests, and working with my advisor, Dr. Welters to put together a research plan and apply for grants allowing me to travel around the country to examine objects relevant to my topic.

What’s been the best part of your whole experience at URI?
I really enjoyed participating in the winter Fashion study tour last year, which included a special tour of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and a visit to Versailles and the Louvre in France. My favorite part was an exclusive tour of Louis Vuitton’s family home and workshop outside of Paris.

What has surprised you most about URI?
I was wary of the large size of the University, because my undergraduate college was so small. Yet, I felt closer and much more comfortable here than I ever did as an undergraduate.

What do you think of the faculty at URI?
The faculty of the TMD department has given me so much confidence, especially after I became ill during one of my semesters there. Everyone is an expert in their field, and is very welcoming and willing to share this with the students in the program.

What do you consider the biggest strengths of your particular program at URI?
I appreciate the closeness of the department and the emphasis on hands-on, practical application of our studies in the department’s labs, collection, and research curriculum.

What kind of internships, experiential learning opportunities, or real-life experiences have you had?
I was a curatorial intern in the Department of Costumes and Textiles at the RISD Museum in Providence. The Costume and Textiles department at RISD celebrates their objects for both their design and their function in history, a rare but wonderful consideration. Some of the basic skills I learned through my internship include operating the museum’s database efficiently and how to compose condition reports and efficient object descriptions focusing on aesthetics and construction details. I had experience working with the museum’s professional photographer and learned how to direct a photo-shoot with garments on forms and mannequins for Internet and cataloguing purposes. I was invited to many curatorial meetings and had the opportunity to experience exhibit planning. I also appreciated the chance to curate my own rotation for the 20th century gallery and felt confident that my choices reflect the “Lady Dandy” theme.

What’s your “Big Idea”?
My plan is to obtain a curatorial position in an institution with a collection of historic costumes where I can use my knowledge of dress history to educate others about specific material objects. I am especially interested in 20th century dress a as representations of modern art.

What would you say to someone undecided about where to go to school for your particular major/program?
I would recommend a visit to the Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design department at URI. Once a student sees all of the tremendous resources available to dress scholars here and meets some of the experts on the faculty, he or she will appreciate the friendly environment where you can truly enjoy your education.

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