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Decorative arts curator at the Newark Museum for 37 years discusses his personal history, acquisition priorities, and curatorial goals.
The Society is proud to present Ulysses Grant Dietz in connection with the Mentor Program.
Ulysses Grant Dietz grew up in Syracuse, New York, where his Leave it to Beaver life was enlivened by his fascination with vampires, from Bela Lugosi to Barnabas Collins. He studied French at Yale (BA, 1977), and was trained to be a museum curator in the University of Delaware’s Winterthur Program in American Material Culture (MA, 1980).
A decorative arts curator at the Newark Museum for thirty-seven years before he retired, Ulysses has never stopped writing for the sheer pleasure of it. Aside from books on Victorian furniture, art pottery, studio ceramics, jewelry, and the White House, Ulysses created the character of Desmond Beckwith in 1988 as his personal response to Anne Rice’s landmark novels. Alyson Books released his first novel, Desmond, in 1998. Vampire in Suburbia, the sequel, appeared in 2012. His most recent novel, Cliffhanger, was released by JMS Books in December 2020.
Ulysses lives in suburban New Jersey with his husband of 45 years. They have two grown children, adopted in 1996.
Ulysses is a great-great grandson of Ulysses S. Grant. His late mother, Julia, was the President’s last living great-grandchild; youngest daughter of Ulysses S. Grant III, and granddaughter of the president’s eldest son, Frederick. Every year on April 27, he gives a speech at Grant’s Tomb in New York City. He is also on the board of the U.S. Grant Presidential Library and Museum at Mississippi State University.
JOIN us for this lively conversation and ask your questions!
– Ulysses Grant Dietz personal background, family history, and connection to collecting art.
– Focus on the Newark Museum’s collection, acquisition priorities, and personal curatorial goals.
– Do curators want to be contacted by artists directly, and if so, how?
– What are a curators’ prime concerns when handling new artwork?
– What are space and other constraints to storing artwork.
– What is the most interesting object you encountered in the museum?
– What is the role of a museum in 2022 and how has that role changed over the last 5 years?
– How is the Society of Arts and Crafts connected to the Newark Museum’s collection?