Victoria Cain Biography

Victoria Cain

Associate Professor of History
College of Social Sciences and Humanities

[email protected]

Areas of Expertise

U.S. History

History of Technology

History of Media

Cultural and Social History


Victoria Cain is an Associate Professor of History at Northeastern University. Professor Cain studies and teaches about the cultural and social history of the twentieth-century United States, with a focus on popular knowledge, visual culture and youth. She is the author of Schools and Screens (forthcoming from the MIT Press, 2021) and the co-author, with Karen Rader of Life on Display: Revolutionizing Museums of Science and Natural History in the Twentieth Century United States (University of Chicago Press, 2014). Life on Display received awards from the History of Education Society and the American Educational Research Association. Her research has been published in IsisHistory of Education QuarterlyEarly Popular Visual CulturePaedagogica Historica, the Journal of Visual Culture, Science in ContextAmerican Quarterly, among others, and she has contributed chapters to anthologies published by Oxford University Press. She received her doctoral degree from Columbia University and her bachelor’s degree from Harvard University. Her research has been supported by the American Association of University Women, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Mellon Foundation, and the Spencer Foundation. Prior to joining the Northeastern faculty, she was an Assistant Professor / Faculty Fellow in Museum Studies at New York University.

Professor Cain is currently helping to build the COVID-19 Digital Archive, a public digital archive chronicling daily life amidst the pandemic. Committed to capturing the diversity of experiences of this extraordinary time, the archive is working with underrepresented communities to ensure all people can share and preserve their stories.  

Publications – Past 5 years

“From Sesame Street to Prime Time School Television: Educational Media in the Wake of the Coleman Report,” History of Education Quarterly v. 57, no. 4, November, 2017, 590-601. (Invited contribution, special issue on “The Legacy of the Coleman Report”) 

 “Present Tense: Histories of Science in Boston’s Museums,” Isis, v. 108, no. 2, 2017, 381-389. (Invited contribution, special issue on “Histories of Science in Museums”) 

 “The Changing Roles of Museums,” co-authored with Karen Rader, Oxford Handbook on the Science of Science Communication, ed. Kathleen Hall Jamieson, Dietram Scheufele, and Dan Kahan (New York: Oxford University Press, 2017). 

 “Seeing the World: Media and Vision in U.S. Geography Classrooms, 1890-1930,” Early Popular Visual Culture, v. 13, no. 4, 2015, 276-292 (published online, 07 Dec 2015, issue on “Histories of Educational Media”)