Mary Anne Beecher, Ph.D., currently serves as Professor and Chairperson of Ohio State's Department of Design. Dr. Beecher has extensive experience as a scholar, a design educator and an administrator in both the United States and Canada. Her educational background includes a B.A. (1986) and M.A. (1988) in Interior Design from Iowa State University and an M.A. (1998) and a Ph.D. (2003) in American Studies from the University of Iowa. She has taught at Iowa State, the University of Oregon, and the University of Manitoba, where she was also the Department Head of the Interior Design Department from 2008-2013 and the Associate Dean-Research in the Faculty of Architecture from 2011-2013.
Dr. Beecher’s research interests have included an examination of a diverse array of American vernacular interior spaces, including early twentieth century farmhouses, mid-century roadside motels, as well as the kitchens, basements, attics, garages, sheds, and perhaps most importantly, the closets that make up the repertoire of storage spaces in evolving twentieth-century modern American living environments. She has written critical essays on such wide-ranging topics as the shifting ethical terrain of today’s interior design practice; the political nature of interior space; the significance of naming practices in interior design education; and Martha Stewart’s contribution to the shaping of attitudes toward craft and quality in popular American culture.
As an educator, Dr. Beecher has taught in both undergraduate and graduate programs. She has taught design studios at all levels, has an extensive background teaching the history of design, design research methods, and design criticism, and has advised several graduate theses. She has published a number of articles on teaching design history, design criticism and methods of interpreting the cultural attributes of design spaces.
Dr. Beecher’s most recent work at Ohio State includes collaborating with Professor Maria Palazzi, Dr. Matt Lewis and others to investigate how technology can be used to present information about the ways in which interior environments have been altered over time. In a project entitled “Seeding Sullivant,” blue-tooth beacons and an app enable the discovery of the sights and sounds of Sullivant Hall from days gone by. She is also currently expanding a series of furniture-based creative projects that re-interpret historic furniture forms; that blend analog and digital methods for incorporating customizable details; and that explore the notion to data-inspired furniture. Beyond this, she focuses on to supporting the faculty and students in the Department of Design and hopes to continue to establish strong connections to our many alumni and friends.
Interview with Mary Anne Beecher from OSU Urban Arts Space on Vimeo.