Welcome to the Cranbrook Kitchen Sink! A project of the Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research, the Kitchen Sink is all about highlighting the history and culture of the Cranbrook Educational Community. This is where we explore the objects, photographs, and documents that make up Cranbrook’s history, bringing to light the important events and forgotten moments of all things Cranbrook.
As the repository for the 100+ year history of Cranbrook, the Center for Collections and Research is the umbrella organization for the Cranbrook Archives and Cranbrook’s historic houses. The Center also oversees the management of Cranbrook’s cultural properties, which is just a fancy phrase for the artifacts and objects that make up Cranbrook’s history. The range of objects we work with is extraordinarily diverse, from the historic carriage housed at Cranbrook Garage to the 80-year-old suites of furniture designed by Eliel and Eero Saarinen for the Cranbrook and Kingswood Schools that are still in use by students today.
While Cranbrook Archives is the repository for the 110+ year history of Cranbrook Educational Community, it is a department of the Center for Collections and Research. The Center also oversees the management of Cranbrook’s historic houses and the community’s cultural properties, the artifacts and objects that make up Cranbrook’s history. The range of objects we work with is extraordinarily diverse, from outdoor sculptures to tapestries to furniture designed by Eliel and Eero Saarinen for the Cranbrook and Kingswood Schools that are still in use by students today.
Kevin Adkisson is the Center’s Curator and assists in the preservation, interpretation, and programs across the many buildings and treasures of Cranbrook. A native of north Georgia, Kevin has an MA from the University of Delaware’s Winterthur Program in American Material Culture, with a thesis examining the role of postmodernism in shopping mall architecture. Previously, an undergraduate degree in architecture from Yale got Kevin various gigs as a designer, researcher, and writer in New York and New Haven. His interests include postmodernism, IKEA, puns, and Dolly Parton.
Nina Blomfield is the Center’s Decorative Arts Trust Marie Zimmermann Collections Fellow. She assists with the care and interpretation of Cranbrook’s Cultural Properties and is researching the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Smith House and its rich collection of twentieth-century decorative arts. Nina received her BA from Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, and earned her MA in History of Art at Bryn Mawr College, Pennsylvania, where her thesis focused on the use of Japanese decorative arts by middle-class American women. She is currently completing a PhD at Bryn Mawr that examines the material culture of domestic space and the global origins of Victorian home decorating.
Meredith Counts joined Cranbrook Archives, Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research, in 2021, as an Archives Assistant. Meredith holds a Master of Science in Information from the School of Information, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and a Bachelors of Arts in Fiction Writing from Columbia College Chicago, Chicago Illinois. Meredith’s archival and cultural heritage work includes employment at the Sindecuse Museum of Dentistry, the Archives of Michigan and the Sloan Museum, and long-term independent projects like preserving the papers of poet Jim Gustafson. Meredith’s personal statement reads, “I believe archives are for everybody, and delight in sharing historical records.”
Laura MacNewman joined Cranbrook Archives as a volunteer in 2012 and the staff as Archives Assistant in 2015. She became Associate Archivist in 2018 and is primarily responsible for collections and research services, providing access to archives through managing remote and on-site research queries, processing collections, and cataloguing architectural drawings. Laura graduated with a BA (Honors) in Law and Society from the University of Exeter in England and an MA in Sociology from Wayne State University in Detroit. She completed her MA in Archives Administration with Aberystwyth University, Wales, in 2019. Her Masters dissertation used documentary analysis to examine the Register of Walter Bronescombe, Bishop of Exeter (1258-1280), alongside an analysis of its context of creation to assess the value of religious archives for secular historical research.
Lynette Mayman joined Cranbrook in 2008 as a volunteer Saarinen House docent and became a Center staff member in 2013. At the Center she conducts tours of Saarinen House, the Frank Lloyd Wright Smith House, and the Cranbrook campus, including the architecture, sculpture, and landscape. She has a BA Combined Honours in French and Linguistics and an MA in Education from the University of London, and an MA in Latin from Wayne State University. A Fulbright scholarship took her to Greece to study ancient Greek and Roman archeological sites. After years initially at Cranbrook Schools then the Birmingham school district, variously teaching English, Latin, French, and Humanities, Lynette has exchanged interpreting written and spoken signs to focus on reading visual forms. Lynette keeps her studies current both at libraries and online, having recently completed a Coursera offering in Roman Architecture from Yale.
Leslie S. Mio is the Associate Registrar for the Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research. Leslie has worked in the Museum field since 2001, previously at The Henry Ford and the Birmingham Museum. She received her Master’s Degree in Historical Administration from Eastern Illinois University and her Bachelor’s Degree from Saint Mary’s College. In her spare time (what is that again?), Leslie enjoys binge-watching baking shows and spending time with her family. Leslie’s favorite quote is from Thomas Alva Edison, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
Deborah Rice is the Head Archivist, and is still trying to figure out what kind of wild, diverse place Cranbrook is! She came to the Archives in 2019 with over seventeen years of experience as a professional archivist, fifteen of those at the Walter P. Reuther Library, Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs, Wayne State University (WSU) where she served in several different roles, including Interim Assistant Director. Prior to her work at WSU, she was the Archivist for the Detroit Institute of Arts Research Library & Archives. Deborah has taught graduate courses and lectured regularly on archives for WSU’s School of Information Science and remains professionally engaged, currently serving as the publications editor of the Society of American Archivists’ Visual Materials Section. Deborah holds a BA in Art History from the University of Michigan and an MLIS degree (Master of Library and Information Services) and Archives Administration Certificate from Wayne State University.
For more than three decades, Greg Wittkopp has been shaping and stewarding Cranbrook’s collections, first as a curator, then as the Director of Cranbrook Art Museum, and now as the Founding Director of the Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research. Major projects at the Museum include restoring Saarinen House, acquiring the Shuey Collection of Contemporary Art, and overseeing the restoration of the Eliel Saarinen-designed galleries and the creation of the state-of-the-art Collections Wing, a $22 million project completed in 2011. Greg holds an MA in Art History from Wayne State University and a BS in Architecture from the University of Michigan and serves on the boards of the Association of Midwest Museums and DoCoMoMo – US/MI.
Gina Tecos served as an Archivist for the Cranbrook Archives from 2014 to 2019.
Leslie S. Edwards served as an Archivist/Head Archivist for the Cranbrook Archives from 2002 to 2018.
Belinda Krencicki was an Associate Archivist at the Cranbrook Archives from 2016 to 2017.
Stefanie Kae Dlugosz-Acton was the 2014-2016 Collections Fellow for the Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research.
Cheri Gay served as an Archivist for the Cranbrook Archives from 2009 to 2016.
Justine Tobiasz started as a graduate student volunteer before being hired as an Archives Assistant at the Cranbrook Archives from 2013-2015.
Gretchen Sawatzki served as the Associate Registrar for the Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research from 2012 to 2014.
Shoshana Resnikoff was the 2012-2014 Collections Fellow for the Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research.
Robbie Terman served as an Archivist for the Cranbrook Archives from 2009 to 2013.