Valpo Professor Named President of Vernacular Architecture Forum

rot1Gretchen Buggeln, Ph.D., Phyllis and Richard Duesenberg Chair in Christianity and the Arts, has been elected president of the Vernacular Architecture Forum. Buggeln will serve a two-year term as president.

Buggeln joined Valparaiso University’s faculty in 2004 after working in the academic programs department of the H.F. du Pont Winterthur Museum in Delaware. She continues to be active in the museum field by reviewing exhibitions and writing about how museums interpret religious artifacts and belief.

“The Vernacular Architecture Forum has been a mainstay of my professional life, and I am honored to serve as president,” Buggeln said.

The Vernacular Architecture Forum (VAF) is the premier organization in North America dedicated to the appreciation and study of ordinary buildings and landscapes. Buggeln has been involved with the VAF since she was a graduate student and regularly attends its conferences. As president, she will oversee the operation of the board and VAF programs, direct a strategic planning process and lead the organization as it moves toward an increased international presence in the next decade.

In addition to holding the Phyllis and Richard Duesenberg Chair, Buggeln serves Valpo as associate professor of art history and humanities, chair of the American studies department and advisor to the Christ College — The Honors College student arts group. She writes and teaches about the intersection of Christian belief and the material world, and her primary research interest is American sacred space, material culture and museums.

Buggeln holds a Ph.D. in American studies from Yale University, a master of arts from the Winterthur Museum program at the University of Delaware and a bachelor of arts in history from Dartmouth College. Her book, “The Suburban Church: Modernism and Community in Postwar America,” discusses the ubiquitous, modern-style, suburban church of the postwar era and will be released in December 2015.