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 is Project Director for a National Endowment for the Humanities grant to design a digital interpretation of the museum’s nearly 4000-year-old Egyptian funerary boat. This digital project builds on Peters’s role in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s MediaLab and Department of Egyptian Art collaboration, “Coloring the temple of Dendur.” The collaboration (re)colored the Augustan temple of Dendur using projection mapping technology to engage museum visitors by showing the temple in a way it had yet to be seen at the Met – in (virtual) color. The Met’s project is an example of the kind of collaborative work that Peters believes will be integral to the future of museums. These projects are springboards for considering the past, present, and future of museums as she develops courses for the Museum Studies Minor in HAA.

Peters’s focus stems from her research specialization in 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: Augustan Temple Art and Architecture, monograph proposal to be submitted to Cambridge University Press, in progress.

“A New Augustan Temple at Dendur in the Dodekaschoinos,” to be submitted to the American Journal of Archaeology, in progress.

“A Case for Collaboration: Reinterpreting and Reinstalling Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s Lion Attacking a Dromedary,” to be submitted to Museums and Society, in progress.

“Coloring the Metropolitan Museum’s Temple of Dendur,” submitted to the Metropolitan Museum Journal, under review.

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

Peters, E. and D.C. Patch. “Living Color: The Met Museum’s Temple of Dendur.” Egyptian Archaeology 50 (Spring 2017): 5–10.

Selected Awards

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