Dr. Paula Findlen, chair of the department of history at Stanford University, seeks answers to such questions as: What can we learn about the past by studying things? How does the meaning of things, and our relationship to them, change over time? A leading historian of the material culture of the early modern world (c. 1500–1800), Dr. Findlen traces the ambiguous development of public art collections, the ways they were subsequently consumed, and the power they exerted on the Western imagination, up to and including that of a young Calvinist by the name of Samuel F.B. Morse. In 2016, Dr. Findlen was awarded the Premio Galileo Prize from the Fondazione Premio Internazionale Galileo Galilei for her work on the history of science in the Renaissance.
The Clonts Lecture is offered every other year honoring Forrest W. Clonts, former Wake Forest University professor of history, and is sponsored by his family. This event is sponsored by the Department of History of Wake Forest University.