Built in the 17th-century Gothic architecture style
Next to the Hawthorne-Longfellow Library and Gibson Hall is Hubbard Hall, which was Bowdoin’s original library. It is now home to the Government and Legal Studies, Economics, and History departments, as well as the Arctic Studies program.
In addition to sizeable conference/classroom spaces on the second floor, there are department and faculty offices, an economics library, the library's Susan Dwight Bliss Room, which houses a small collection of rare illustrated books, and some of Bowdoin’s Information Technology services.
One can also find the Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum on the ground floor of the building, an archive documenting Robert Peary and Donald MacMillan’s historic pioneering expeditions to the Arctic region. They were both Bowdoin graduates and Peary is believed to have been the first man to reach the North Pole.
The building also features the only functioning (water-spouting) gargoyle in the state of Maine on the left side of the main tower.
The Arctic museum is named after Robert E. Peary (Class of ‘1877) and was established in recognition of the long association Bowdoin has had with polar exploration, scientific investigations of northern latitudes, and prominent personalities involved in those enterprises. The museum is very involved with issues related to climate change including studies of Bowdoin’s mascot, the polar bear.
Bowdoin students have been accompanying Bowdoin faculty on northern expeditions since 1860, when a group of students and faculty explored Labrador. A major expedition to Labrador in 1891, led by Professor Leslie Lee, documented the Grand Falls (now Churchill Falls) and gathered natural history specimens for college collections. At this time Peary began emerging as a national figure as a result of his exploration of Greenland. In 1909, after many failed attempts, Peary announced that he, his assistant Matthew Henson, and four Inuit, were the first men to reach the North Pole.
In 1908-09 another Bowdoin graduate, Donald B. MacMillan (Class of 1898), began an equally prominent career as an Arctic explorer. In 1910 he began leading his own expeditions to Labrador, North Greenland, Baffin Island and Ellesmere Island. He traveled north more than twenty-six times and took dozens of Bowdoin students with him. His schooner was named The Bowdoin and it still sails Maine waters as part of the Maine Maritime Academy fleet.
The Arctic Museum collections, which number over 50,000 items, document more than 140 years of historical, environmental, and cultural developments in the Arctic. They include exploration equipment, artifacts, Native American and Inuit art, films, photographs, archival papers, and publications.
The academic program offers courses on Arctic topics, as well as fieldwork opportunities in northern latitudes such as Alaska, Canada, and Greenland. Students also work in laboratories, the museum galleries, and archives. Students can concentrate, but cannot major, in Arctic studies, and most courses are offered through the geology and anthropology departments.
One of Bowdoin’s most popular majors, courses offered include Micro and Macro Economics; Econometrics; International Trade; Environmental Resources; Public Sector Economics; Development; the Economics of the Family; Financial Markets; Economic History; Game Theory; and many others. Per arrangement with the faculty, students engage in independent studies in all areas of economics.
Bowdoin's largest department, with approximately 170 majors and over 30 minors per class in 2006 and ten full-time faculty, the small introductory and senior seminars offered by the department are unusual relative to other colleges.
Courses are divided into four fields: American Government, Comparative Politics, Political Theory, and International Relations. Majors must complete a concentration in one of these fields, and take courses in the three other fields.
Examples of first-year seminars include: The Pursuit of Peace; American Politics-Representation, Participation, Power; Athens and Jerusalem; The Korean War; Mass Media; and The Political Animal in the Wilderness.
Senior seminars have included: National Security Law and Policy, Politics and Anti-Politics of East Central Europe, Globalization and Demoralization, Political Philosophy of German Idealism, Conflict Simulation of Conflict Resolution, International Law, Politics, and the Search for Justice.
A special component of the department's program is the focus on legal studies as they relate to government, especially with respect to American politics and national security policy.
The history department offers a wide range of courses, not only in European and American history, but in African, East Asian, Latin American, and Near Eastern as well.
Course offerings are specifically divided into several fields: Europe, Great Britain, the United States, Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Majors choose one primary field of study, and two secondary fields. In keeping with Bowdoin's interdisciplinary approach to education, two courses must also be taken outside of the history department in areas that relate to the primary field, such as the art, literature, or religious trends of the primary region.