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Elizabeth Dospěl Williams

Associate Curator, Byzantine Collection

Elizabeth Dospel Williams.

Elizabeth Dospěl Williams is associate curator responsible for the Byzantine Collection. Her exhibitions have covered a range of topics, with a particular focus on textiles and jewelry. She was coeditor and contributor to the born-digital Catalogue of the Textiles in the Dumbarton Oaks Byzantine Collection and the volume, Liminal Fabric: Byzantine and Early Islamic Furnishing Textiles. In 2019, she cocurated two exhibitions, Ornament: Fragments of Byzantine Fashion (held at Dumbarton Oaks) and Woven Interiors: Furnishing Early Medieval Egypt (co-organized with the George Washington University Museum and the Textile Museum). She contributes regularly to in-house exhibitions drawing together the Byzantine, Pre-Columbian, and House Collections. Most recently, Williams has piloted a yearlong series of virtual object study sessions that experimented with new digital pedagogies in object-based learning. Currently she is planning a reinstallation of the Byzantine galleries.

Dospěl Williams received her PhD in Byzantine and Islamic art history and archaeology from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. Her presentations and publications address late antique aesthetics, dress practice, and sensory experience. She has also published on the history of collecting, with a particular interest in the provenance histories of archaeological material from the late nineteenth century through the Second World War. Dospěl Williams is an ALM candidate in management at Harvard Extension School, with specializations in nonprofit management and organizational behavior. Publications available on