Student Research

Below are examples of Bowdoin Art History majors' honors projects, independent study projects, and other creative undertakings that reflect these students' passion for their chosen area of study.

Hailey Beaman ’18 and June Lei ’18

Title: Reading Room: Experiments in Collaborative Dialogue and Archival Practice in the Arts

Museum of Art exhibit March 29-June 3, 2018

Hailey and June are both Art History and English double majors. Room is a material and immaterial archive of texts, books, and writings in response to the question: “How can art act as a mechanism for social action?”

Positioning the Museum as an alternative site for community-building and public discourse, this exhibition creates a space inside of the galleries at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art for dialogue to materialize and for the public to inhabit. It will be a space for interactive reflection and discourse with the Museum’s ongoing exhibitions.

Hailey and June worked under the guidance of BCMA’s Co-director Anne Goodyear and Andrew W. Mellon Post-Doctoral Curatorial Fellow Ellen Tani, Co-Director, and abstract artist Byron Kim; October 2015-present.


Eliza Goodpasture ’18

Title: One Foot on Either Side of the Pond: James Bowdoin III’s Relationship to Class and Art

Art History major/Gender, Sexuality and Women Studies minor.

James Bowdoin III spent time in circles that were grounded in the culture of aristocracy and country house living in Britain, and he was influenced by their attitudes towards art and collecting. His collection of paintings and drawings reflects this influence, and set an early precedent for American collectors. I analyze several examples from his collection, with a focus on drawings, to demonstrate the parallels between contemporary country house collections and Bowdoin’s collection. I argue that it was in large part his exposure to hereditary systems of wealth and status in Britain that led him to bequeath his collection to the College upon his death in 1811. While Bowdoin’s choice led to an innovative museum after his death, his decision to leave his collection to the College was based more on his aristocratic values than his desire for a progressive educational institution.


Eliza worked with Bowdoin College Museum of Art co-director Anne Goodyear on this project.

Maeve Morse ’18

Title: Extending Definitions of Narrative Medicine: Artist Books and Martha Hall

Neuroscience major/Art History minor.

Martha Hall created over 100 artist books during the time from her diagnosis with breast cancer in 1996 to her death in 2003. These books, by being part narrative, part object, and part performance, allow an artist to tell an illness narrative that includes the parts of illness that are not able to be communicated through language alone by producing affect. This added element of Narrative makes these book valuable to both the artistic and medical communities.

Maeve’s research of the Martha Hall artist books in Bowdoin’s Special Collections was under the guidance of Professor Pamela Fletcher, fall 2017 and Professor Tara Kohn, spring 2018.

Daniel Rechtschaffen ’18

Title: Portrait of a Collector

Art History major/Francophone Studies minor.

What do 3,000+ works on paper say about the person who collected them? Can they say anything at all? I will discuss the process of "getting to know" the man, Artine Artinian, who gifted a trove of artworks to Bowdoin College without so much as a key or a legend.

Presentation based on Daniel’s summer 2017 museum internship research and curated BCMA exhibition January 19-March 22, 2018, under the guidance of BCMA curator, Joachim Homann.