7 June 2023 • Arts Stephanopoulos Collection Inspires Cataloging Course

A significant collection of historically important photographs donated by journalist George Stephanopoulos will help students learn the art of curation.

Since 2019, television anchor and political commentator George Stephanopoulos has donated more than 2,000 photographs to the Collections of Hobart and William Smith Colleges with an appraised value of nearly $7 million. Next academic year, Meghan Jordan, the Clarence A. Davis ’48 Visual Arts Curator, will teach two courses that will use the Stephanopoulos Collection to instruct students on how to catalogue works of art for archival preservation and how to select and display works for exhibition.

“The Stephanopoulos Collection is an important record of critical developments during the 20th century,” says Jordan. “As a new addition to the Colleges’ collections, they offer an incredible learning opportunity, both from a curatorial perspective and an art historical perspective. I’m excited to begin the process with students and help them discover these works and the fun of cataloging them.”

Stephanopoulos’s 2022 donation added 690 photos to his previous gifts during 2019, 2020 and 2021. The collection captures important historical moments and artistic movements of the 20th century, depicting politics and institutions, television and media, the Civil Rights Movement and the Great Depression, including the work of photojournalists who produced wire photographs for news outlets.


During Jordan’s fall course, “Art Internship Catalog,” she will use the donation to teach students the cataloging process, moving each print from its temporary binders into official archival sleeves and boxes. Students will learn to handle prints professionally, as well as conservation best practices. While using professional collection management software, they will record information about the works, including artist names, their nationalities, print measurements, keywords and descriptions.

In the spring of 2024, Jordan will offer “Art Internship Exhibition,” a course in which students will create an exhibition using photographs selected from the Stephanopoulos collection. The exhibition, “Frames of History: Selections from the George Stephanopoulos Collection,” is scheduled to run from March 7 to April 12, 2024, in the Davis Gallery at Houghton House. 

In both courses, students will develop skills to prepare them for careers working as a curator, cataloger or collections manager at an art gallery or museum