History of Art and Architecture

Erin Peters

Joint Lecturer in History of Art and Architecture and Assistant Curator in the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh

Area of Specialization

Roman Egypt


Constellation(s): Agency, Environment, Identity, Mobility/Exchange

Erin Peters holds a joint position as Lecturer in Curatorial Studies in History of Art and Architecture and as Assistant Curator of Science and Research in the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. CMNH holds the majority of the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh’s objects from ancient Egypt, and Peters is currently curating an updated display of the Walton Hall of Ancient Egypt. As part of planning this display, she has been awarded two National Endowment for the Humanities planning grants – the first, to design a digital interpretation of the museum’s nearly 4000-year-old Egyptian funerary boat and the second, for the overall exhibition entitled, “Egypt on the Nile.” This major project is core to her museum studies courses, which unite practical on-the-ground museum work with theoretical exploration. This thread is also central to her current course HAA 1021/2021: Inside the Carnegie International, which is co-designed and co-taught with Liz Park, Associate Curator of the CarnegieInternational, 57thed., 2018. The course takes the Carnegie International, a major international contemporary art exhibition, as an example of on-the-ground museum work, and the students explore the exhibition as their classroom and their textbook.

Peters researches temples built in Egypt under the first Roman Emperor, Augustus, who annexed Egypt into the Roman Empire in 30 BCE. She has conducted four seasons of field research in Egypt, and is currently a member of the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities and Italian Archaeological Mission of the University of Florence at el Sheikh Abada, ancient Antinoupolis in Egypt. Antinoupolis is the famous city built by the emperor Hadrian for his companion Antinous, who is said to have drown in the Nile in 130 CE and deified after his death. A major part of the Mission’s project is to make a complete architectural and urban plan of the Hadrianic city, and Peters is investigating the sacred landscape, particularly how “Egyptian” and “Roman” elements function together in sacred space. 

Education Details

Ph.D., University of Iowa, Art History, 2015 (awarded the D.C. Spriestersbach Dissertation Prize in the Humanities and the Fine Arts)

M.A., Seton Hall University, Museum Professions, 2009

M.A., University of Memphis, Egyptology, 2007

B.A., Arizona State University, Art History, 2003

Selected Publications

Egypt in Empire: Temple Art and Architecture in Augustan Egypt, monograph proposal submitted to Cambridge University Press, December 2017, under review.

“Coloring the Temple of Dendur,” Metropolitan Museum Journal53 (2018), in press.

“Octavian Transformed as Pharaoh and as Emperor Augustus.” In Ancient Art of Transformation, edited by R. Gondek and C. Sulosky Weaver. London: Oxbow Books, in press.

Peters, E., M. Felsen, and M.P. Saba. “Experiencing Ancient Polychromy at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Temple of Dendur.” In From Macro to Micro: Examining Architectural Finishes, edited by M. Jablonski and K. Travers Moffitt. London: Archetype Publications, 2018, 189–196.

Peters, E., C. Roberts, and P.P. Creasman. “Recent Research on the “Carnegie Boat” from Dahshur, Egypt.” Journal of Ancient Egyptian Interconnections16 (December 2017): 99–103.

Peters, E. and D.C. Patch. “Living Color: The Met Museum’s Temple of Dendur.” Egyptian Archaeology50 (Spring 2017): 5–10.

“Curator—Curatorial Studies: Towards Co-creation and Multiple Agencies.” Contemporaneity: Historical Presence in Visual Culture5, no. 1 (2016): 123–128.

Selected Awards

Project Director, National Endowment for the Humanities Exhibitions Planning Grant: Planning Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s “Egypt on the Nile” Exhibition, Carnegie Museum of Natural History (for Carnegie Institute), 2018-2019

Project Director, National Endowment for the Humanities Digital Projects for the Public Discovery Grant: Evaluating Digital Platforms for an Immersive Ancient Egyptian Experience, Carnegie Museum of Natural History (for Carnegie Institute), 2016-2017

University of Pittsburgh Year of Diversity Grant: Community Conversations: Neutralizing Historic and Contemporary Stereotypes, 2016-2017

University of Iowa Ballard and Seashore Dissertation Year Fellowship, 2014-2015

Metropolitan Museum of Art Chester Dale Fellowship, Department of Egyptian Art, 2013-2014

Selected Curatorial Projects

Curator, “Egypt on the Nile,” Carnegie Museum of Natural History, 2016-

Curator, “Lion Attacking a Dromedary,” Carnegie Museum of Natural History, 2016-2017

Research Scholar, Department of Egyptian Art and Met MediaLab Project: “Coloring the Temple of Dendur,” Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2013-2015

Co-curator, “PAPERWORK,” Walsh Gallery, Seton Hall University, November 10th-December 12th, 2008