As a Public History Fellow, Lisa Berry Drago connects research and collections with broad audiences in innovative ways. Her tools are objects, stories, people, and ideas; her goals are engagement and open dialogue. She develops social media, exhibitions, and programs that highlight relationships between science, technology, art, and society.
Berry Drago is a PhD candidate in art history at the University of Delaware, specializing in 17th-century Netherlands. Her dissertation centers on the painter Thomas Wijck (1616–1677), whose pictures of alchemists in the laboratory offer new perspectives on early modern science and artistry. Dutch images of alchemists at work have long been overlooked as moralizing satires catering to a disbelieving audience. Yet alchemy was a vital material science, a discipline of experiment and innovation. Berry Drago’s project explores the connections between the work of alchemists and the transformations performed by early modern artists. In addition to iconographical and historical concerns, emphasis is placed on Wijck’s paintings as transformative objects produced in a studio-workshop: raw materials, pigments, and chemical processes will shed light on the practices of painters and their role in a greater “Golden Age” of discovery.
Berry Drago received her MA in art history from Temple University in 2010 and holds a BA in fine arts from SUNY, Fredonia. In her free time she enjoys volunteering with the Fleisher Art Memorial and the Free Library of Philadelphia, teaching youth workshops in painting and drawing, comics, and picture-book illustration.