Rob Lancefield (retired) was Head of IT at the Yale Center for British Art. Before that, he led digital work at the Davison Art Center, Wesleyan University, where he led the development and launch of DAC Open Access Images in 2012. Rob is the immediate past chair of the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) Council of Affiliates, a council of leadership representatives from 28 national and international organizations in the museum field; a former president of the Museum Computer Network (MCN), the professional organization for people who do digital work in museums; and a co-founding member of the ImageMuse discussion group, which now connects more than 500 digital imaging professionals in museums and other cultural organizations. He continues to be actively engaged in the cultural heritage sector.


Ph.D., Ethnomusicology: Wesleyan University. Dissertation: “Hearing orientality in (white) America, 1900–1930” (ProQuest 3167976).

M.A., Music: Wesleyan University. Thesis: “On the repatriation of recorded sound from ethnomusicological archives” (ProQuest 1354933).

B.A., Music: Wesleyan University. First in class, high honors, Phi Beta Kappa, National Merit Scholar.


2019. Co-editor of The Oxford Handbook of Musical Repatriation, edited by Frank Gunderson, Robert C. Lancefield, and Bret Woods. New York: Oxford University Press.

2007. “Museum Images Online: Meeting the Needs of Educators.” With David Green, et al., in Museums & the Web 2007 Proceedings online (Archives & Museum Informatics).

2003. “Performing Images, Embodying Race.” Exhibition brochure with essay and suggested reading list, written as exhibition curator (Middletown, CT: Davison Art Center, Wesleyan University).

2001. “Museum Standards, Markup, and XML for Beginners.” Invited contribution to special issue of Spectra 28 (2), 24–27; reprinted by invitation in the VRA Bulletin 28 (4), 21–26.

1998. “Musical Traces’ Retraceable Paths: Ethnomusicological Perspectives on Repatriation.Journal of Folklore Research 35 (1), 47–68. To be reprinted in The Oxford Handbook of Musical Repatriation (forthcoming 2019).

1998. Review of Borrowed Power: Essays on Cultural Appropriation (Rutgers University Press, 1997). Yearbook for Traditional Music 30 (1998), 133–35.

Blog Posts


    Two key projects (please see LinkedIn for more):

    • Developed the DAC Open Access Images policy at the Davison Art Center, Wesleyan University, led the internal process of gaining institutional approvals for it, and designed and implemented a technical architecture for open image delivery that leveraged existing enterprise platforms; the policy went into formal effect in 2012 for suitable images conveyed by staff to requestors, and one-click public download of open access images followed in 2013.

    • Designed and directed a sequence of five intensive summer projects to digitize thousands of works of art on paper in the Davison Art Center collection and make the resulting images as widely available as copyright allowed, with more than 6,000 DAC Open Access Images provided online by 2019; wrote two successful applications for multi-year IMLS Museums for America grants to support this work; hired and led each summer’s project team.

    Rob Lancefield

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