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Museum of Art: records and publications

 Record Group
Identifier: A05.02

  • Staff Only
  • Please use the Collection Organization section below to place requests.

Scope and Contents

This collection includes flyers, pamphlets, clippings, invitations, news releases from the Office of Communications and Museum Newsletters that publicize exhibits and collections. Also includes correspondence concerning the lending and donating of art objects to the museum, the publishing of catalogues, security of exhibits and insurance for borrowed art objects.

Exhibition catalogs and other publications are cataloged individually and can be located by searching the library catalog.


  • Creation: 1847 - 2019


Access Restrictions

No restrictions.

Biographical/Historical Note

Between 1855 and 1894, the College's art collection was housed in a gallery in King Chapel. The original collection, a bequest of James Bowdoin III in 1811, consisted of two portfolios of 141 old master drawings and 70 paintings. The gallery in the Chapel was a gift from Theophilus Wheeler Walker, a cousin of President Leonard Woods. A separate museum was needed when there was not enough space to house the entire collection. The Walker Art Building, built in 1894, which houses the Museum of Art, was designed by Charles Follen McKim of McKim, Mead and White. A gift to the College by Harriet Sarah and Mary Sophia Walker, the building was built as a memorial to their late uncle, Theophilus Wheeler Walker.

Since James Bowdoin III's 1811 bequest, the museum collections have been added to by many benefactors, including other members of the Bowdoin family, as well as alumni and friends of the College. The permanent collection includes American colonial and federal portraits by Blackburn, Copley, Feke, Smibert, Stuart, Sully, and Trumball; Chinese and Korean ceramics; paintings and prints by John Sloan; Winslow Homer paintings and drawings; and objects of the ancient world. Besides exhibiting its permanent collections, the Museum schedules temporary exhibits of art lent by other museums and private collectors. The Walker Art Building was renovated in 1976 and 1993 to accommodate the growing collections. Between July 2005 and October 2007 the Museum of Art was closed while Walker Art Building underwent a major renovation.


9.5 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Related Materials

Series 4 originally contained catalogs to accompany exhibitions and occasional publications, mainly Museum guides and handbooks to the collections. In 2022 and 2023, these materials were separated from the collection and cataloged as individual publications. These can be searched in Bowdoin's online catalog; a list is available here. Select catalogues and publications are available online.

Guide to the Museum of Art Records and Publications
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library, Brunswick, Maine 04011 Repository

3000 College Station
Brunswick Maine 04011 USA
(207) 725-3288