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Hello Prospective Students!

My name is Karlyn Allenbrand and I have the pleasure of being your student admissions ambassador. I’m here to answer any questions you may have about being a student at BGC, so please don’t hesitate to reach out! I hope to meet many of your at our admissions events this year, including our first open house, October 29

Over the next several weeks, I’ll share some of my favorite parts of the program with you. I’m a second year MA student with an interest in 20th-century craft, design, and visual culture and I am primarily interested in American manufacturing. Before coming to BGC, I was a textile designer, developing knit and woven textiles for industrial manufacturing. Because of my background in material development, I wanted a program that would allow me to continue working directly with the objects and materials integral to my scholarship. So this week, I’d like to introduce you to one of my favorite parts of being a BGC student: the Study Collection

With over 3,000 objects in the building, you’ll never run out of things to touch. I’ve spent many afternoons with 18th-century textiles from Southeast Asia and Swedish toys from the 1950s. One of my favorite objects in the collection is the Electrolux, a steel vacuum designed by Luarelle Guild for the American consumer market in 1937. I first came across this vacuum in Objects in Context, a preliminary course for first-year MA and PHD students. Professor Catherine Whalen brought the vacuum to class to talk about streamlined design and new material possibilities developing in the United States during the 1930s. Being able to closely examine (and touch) this vacuum has shaped my approach to designed objects and has inspired me to focus on ways design influences—and is influenced—by our immediate environment.

But wait, there’s more! Our wonderful staff and faculty are continuously looking for ways to expand the collection, tailoring it to our student’s research interests. As a student at BGC, you will be able to take advantage of the collection AND collaborate with staff and faculty to expand the holdings. This has been an invaluable resource during my time here and I hope you get a chance to see it!

To learn more about our special collections and how BGC integrates objects into the classroom, please consider joining us on October 29th for our open house. It’s a wonderful opportunity to learn more about our faculty and their research over some coffee and bagels. You will also be able to connect with current students and learn about their experience in the program. I will be providing a tour around the building and I’d love to show off the Study Collection! Until then, please feel free to reach out with any questions you may have about the application process or BGC.

Karlyn Allenbrand, MA ‘24
Admissions Ambassador