About the Exhibition

Antiquity & America is the outcome of extensive research on the part of a team of Bowdoin College Museum of Art (BCMA) staff, Bowdoin faculty and students, and outside collaborators led by Sean P. Burrus (Interim Curator and Andrew W. Mellon Post-Doctoral Curatorial Fellow). The project takes as its starting point the Museum’s large and diverse holdings of antiquities from the Mediterranean and Middle East. Weaving together research into these artifacts, their collectors, and the role of antiquity in American history, the exhibition sheds light on the history of the BCMA collection as a means for understanding Americans’ enduring fascination with the ancient world. In addition to publishing highlights from the BCMA’s collections of ancient art and artifacts, Antiquity & America also draws on European and American paintings, sculptures, prints, and drawings in order to reconstruct the cultural landscape that inspired American acquisitions of ancient art and artifacts.

A major goal of Antiquity & America has been to update scholarship on the ancient collection at the BCMA, which was last treated comprehensively over five decades ago, and to reveal the collection’s scope by sharing a representative selection of the over two thousand works of ancient art held by the BCMA. Provenance research is a critical part of any project of this nature. While the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted plans and closed archives during a critical research phase of this exhibition, important progress was made in recovering the histories of the Bowdoin collection. Provenance information is offered in full for each antiquity, and it is anticipated that ongoing research and cataloging begun with this project will permit new discoveries and future updates.


The nature of the investigation into antiquity and its American contexts involved an interdisciplinary team of scholars including faculty and students at Bowdoin, and beyond. Special thanks are due to contributors who created catalogue entries, composed essays, and recorded interviews for the online publication. Editing for the written content was done by Point Line Projects (Jedd Hakimi and Candace Opper).

Imaging for Antiquity & America was primarily done in-house by a capable team of Bowdoin students, Cheng Xing ’23 and Andria Polo Brizuela ’22, working as Digital Media Assistants, with support from Michelle Henning (Assistant to the Registrar). Additional imaging was done by Luc Demers and Dennis Griggs.

Virtual models were made using Artec3d laser scanning technology and photogrammetry by David N. Israel P’25 (Academic Technology & Consulting), with support from Cheng Xing ’23, who also supported the production of video interviews.

The website for Antiquity & America was designed by CHIPS (Adam Squires & Dan Shields) and built in WordPress. David N. Israel P’25 supported the launch and implementation at Bowdoin. Additional thanks to the Museum’s ROAM team for their invaluable insights and review of the website at multiple stages. The ROAM team is comprised of Suzanne Bergeron, Sean P. Burrus, Jennifer Edwards, Anne Collins Goodyear, David Francis, Stephen Houser, Laura Latman, Sabrina Lin, and Amanda Skinner.

Antiquity & America was made possible with generous support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The exhibition benefits from the generosity of many lenders, including the McGuigan Collection, the Monticello Foundation, Newark Museum, Portland Museum of Art, and Friends of the BCMA. Research for Antiquity & America benefited from the resources of the George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives at Bowdoin College and the McGuigan Collection Research Library.

Website contributors

Dana E. Byrd
Assistant Professor of Art History
Bowdoin College

Tess Chakkalakal
Associate Professor of Africana Studies and English,Chair of the Africana Studies Department
Bowdoin College

Elise A. Friedland
Associate Professor of Classical and Ancient NearEastern Studies and Art History
George Washington University

Darien Gillespie ’24
Research Fellow in Ancient Mediterranean Studies
Bowdoin College

Anne Collins Goodyear
Bowdoin College Museum of Art

Frank H. Goodyear
Bowdoin College Museum of Art

James Higginbotham
Associate Professor of Classics on the Henry Johnson Professorship Fund,Curator for the Ancient Collection
Bowdoin College Museum of Art

Elizabeth Humphrey ’14
Curatorial Assistant and Manager of Student Programs
Bowdoin College Museum of Art

Emilie Johnson
Associate Curator
The Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello

Jennifer B. Clarke Kosak
Associate Professor of Classics
Bowdoin College

Michael D. Nerdahl
Senior Lecturer in Classics
Bowdoin College

Lucy Siegel ’22
Assistant to the Curator
Bowdoin College Museum of Art
Art History and Government & Legal Studies
Bowdoin College

Laura Feych Sprague
Senior Consulting Curator
Bowdoin College Museum of Art

Lily Weafer, ’23
Student Assistant to the Curator
Bowdoin College Museum of Art
Visual Arts
Bowdoin College

Susan Wegner
Associate Professor of Art History, Chair of Department of Art, and Director of Art History Division
Bowdoin College

Brooke Wrubel ’21
Exhibition Assistant and Research Associate
Bowdoin College Museum of Art
Art History and Italian Studies
Bowdoin College

Cheng Xing ’23
Lead Digital Media Assistant
Bowdoin College Museum of Art
Computational Studies and Math
Bowdoin College