Dr. Katherine Schwab received her BA from Scripps College, where she majored in ancient Greek civilization. Subsequently, she earned her MA in art history from Southern Methodist University, and her PhD from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. Dr. Schwab joined the faculty at Fairfield University in 1988 where she is professor of art history and visual culture in the Department of Visual and Performing Arts, curator of the Plaster Cast Collection, and director of the School of Communication, Arts and Media. Dr. Schwab has been awarded three separate fellowships (both pre- and postdoctoral) by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in addition to the Robert E. Wall Award at Fairfield, as well as other honors and grants in support of her research on the Parthenon metopes, the Caryatid Hairstyling Project (www.fairfield.edu/caryatid), and restoration work on the Plaster Cast Collection.  

The Fairfield University Plaster Cast Collection began in 1991 and is mostly comprised of rare and historic casts from the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Yale University Art Gallery, with additional gifts from the Acropolis Museum, the Slater Museum, and individuals. Some of the casts from the Acropolis Museum are unique in the United States. The collection’s range and depth of casts representing Parthenon sculpture is distinctive. In 2015, eight plaster casts from the Fairfield collection were part of an exhibition Ghost Versions by contemporary artist Ruby Sky Stiler at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, Connecticut.  

Schwab’s publications include several book chapters and journal articles and, most recently, exhibiting her original Parthenon drawings, An Archaeologist’s Eye: The Parthenon Drawings of Katherine A. Schwab. The exhibition launched at the Consulate General of Greece in New York in January 2014, and has been exhibited at the Greek Embassy in Washington, DC, the Georgia Museum of Art / University of Georgia, and Lied Art Gallery / Creighton University, the Hallie Ford Art Museum / Willamette University, the Phillips Museum of Art / Franklin & Marshall College, and the Forsyth Galleries / Texas A&M University. The national tour of this exhibition continues at the Nashville Parthenon beginning January 2018.  

Schwab received permission from the Ministry of Culture in Greece to study the Parthenon’s east and north metopes beginning in 2003. Subsequently, she was asked to provide grayscale scans of her metope drawings for the permanent installation of the Parthenon Gallery in the new Acropolis Museum in Athens, where the scans are on permanent display. She is the only American archaeologist to have drawings included in this installation. The guidebook to the Acropolis Museum (2013) includes her proposed reconstruction drawing for Parthenon East Metope 14. Her close examination of select Parthenon metopes, including new discoveries and the complex topic of polychromy, will appear in publications now in press. 

Fairfield University’s Lukacs Gallery hosted the first exhibition of her original drawings in 2009. A selection of her Parthenon drawings was exhibited in Gifts from Athens, the inaugural exhibition of the Bellarmine Museum of Art in 2010. She was recognized for her contributions to Greek culture with the “Hellene of the Year” award from AHEPA District 7 (Connecticut and Rhode Island) in 2011, followed by the “Paideia Award” for the state of Connecticut given by the University of Connecticut in 2012.  

She has cohosted two photographic exhibitions from Athens for their U.S. premiere at Fairfield University: The Acropolis Restoration Project: Photographs by Socratis Mavrommatis (2004) and The Creative Photograph in Archaeology (2007). She organized a symposium at Fairfield in conjunction with The Creative Photograph in Archaeology and contributed an essay to the subsequent book publication (2008). In 2009, she directed a film, The Caryatid Hairstyling Project, which has been screened internationally. With the art history program, she organized an exhibition, Photographs of the Caryatid Hairstyling Project, which was shown at the Greek Consulate General in New York City and at the Greek Embassy in Washington, DC. In 2015, she co-curated with Dr. Marice Rose the exhibition Hair in the Classical World at Fairfield University. Journal articles and book chapters on the topic of hair in the Classical world, co-authored with Dr. Rose, have been published or are in press.