A scholar of Roman art and Ph.D. candidate at Princeton University, Margaret Kurkoski is primarily focused on the relationship between architecture and décor at ancient villas. Drawing from textual and archaeological sources, her work investigates how individual decisions concerning properties, whether enacted by patrons, architects, or laborers, generated dynamic messages for contemporaneous viewers over the centuries-long lives of these buildings.
Margaret received a B.A. in classical languages from Smith College. Following her graduation in 2012, she taught at Akdeniz Üniversitesi in southwest Turkey with the support of a Fulbright grant. Margaret then returned to Smith College as the Brown Foundation Post-Baccalaureate Curatorial Fellow at the Museum of Art, where she helped to envision, organize, and curate the Art of the Ancient World gallery during the Museum's two-year gallery redesign project. She has participated in the Pompeii Quadriporticus Project and excavations at Hadrian’s Villa in Tivoli.
Her dissertation, "Imperial Presence in the Villas of Roman Italy," evaluates how the institution of the emperor propelled architectural and decorative change at these countryside estates. This project is indebted to support from the Fondazione Lemmermann and Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa, which allowed her to conduct research in Italy. During the 2020-21 academic year, Margaret was a graduate fellow at the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies (PIIRS).