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School of Visual Art and Design

Faculty and Staff Directory

Lydia Brandt

Title: Professor / Art History
School of Visual Art and Design
Phone: 803-777-4160
Office: McMaster 320
Office Hours: By appointment
Resources: Curriculum Vitae [pdf]
Lydia Brandt


Ph.D., University of Virginia (Art and Architectural History)
B.A., New York University (Art History)


Professor Brandt’s scholarship asks questions about the ways in which American buildings and landscapes shape and respond to popular ideas about the past. She is an active historic preservationist and advocate for community history. Since 2011, Brandt has taught the history of architecture and American art and the methods and theories of historic preservation at USC. She was the recipient of the Fresh Voices in the Humanities Award from South Carolina Humanities and promoted to full professor in 2021.

Professor Brandt’s current research focuses on the image of the antebellum southern plantation in popular American architecture and visual culture. She is co-authoring a book with Philip Mills Herrington (Assistant Professor of History, James Madison University) on the subject and the pair’s article, “The Antebellum Plantation of Stone Mountain, Georgia” was published in the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians in 2022.

Professor Brandt is also nationally known for her expertise on George Washington’s Mount Vernon and the colonial revival. Her 2016 book, First in the Homes of His Countrymen: George Washington's Mount Vernon in the American Imagination, received the Henry-Russell Hitchcock Award from the Victorian Society in America in 2018. Her work on the South Carolina state house grounds and its monuments includes a guidebook (published by the University of South Carolina Press in 2021), an online tour, and a podcast produced with Historic Columbia thanks to a grant from South Carolina Humanities.

Professor Brandt has also contributed essays to edited volumes published by the University of Virginia Press, the University of SC Press, and Carnegie Mellon University Press and to the journals Winterthur Portfolio, The Public Historian, Imprint, Antiques & Fine Art, and Arris. Fellowships and grants from the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington at Mount Vernon, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Henry Luce Foundation, the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Winterthur Museum and Gardens, the University of Virginia, and the University of South Carolina have supported her research.

Professor Brandt is a dedicated advocate for local history and preservation and is known regionally as a leader in the preservation of mid-century architecture. Professor Brandt has been the sole or co-author of six historic district nominations to the National Register of Historic Places in Virginia, South Carolina, and Illinois. In 2021 with Staci Richey of Access Preservation, she conducted a survey of 721 resources in downtown Columbia, 60% of which were built between 1945 and 1974. She is one of three professors at the University of South Carolina who led the campaign for a monument to the university’s first African American professor, Richard T. Greener, erected in early 2018.

Dr. Brandt is the former the co-editor of Buildings & Landscapes, the Journal of the Vernacular Architecture Forum, and President of the Southeast Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians.


ARTH 105 | History of Western Art I

ARTH 340 | History of American Art and Architecture to 1812

ARTH 337 | Modern Architecture

ARTH 542 | American Architecture

ARTH 7-- | seminars on various aspects of American architecture and art, memory and monuments, digital humanities

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.