Interested in modernism and art history since her undergraduate studies at Bucknell University, Dr. Doreen Bolger is a recognized name in the field of art history and curation. Retired since 2015, she previously served as the director of The Baltimore Museum of Art beginning in 1998. Since her retirement, she has lent her time as a consultant to arts and nonprofit management in Baltimore. Earlier in her career, Dr. Bolger served as the director of the Museum of Art at the Rhode Island School of Design, the curator of paintings and sculpture at the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth, Texas, and the curator of American paintings and sculpture and manager of the Henry R. Luce Center for the Study of American Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Additionally, Dr. Bolger lent her expertise to the Metropolitan Museum of Art beginning in 1976, first serving as a research associate in the Department of American Paintings and Sculpture, then as an assistant curator. She also served as an associate curator of American paintings and sculptures. Dr. Bolger commenced her career in 1973 as a field representative at the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts in Edenton, North Carolina.
Before embarking on her career, Dr. Bolger received a Bachelor of Arts, magna cum laude, from Bucknell University in 1971. She went on to complete fellowships at the University of Delaware and the Graduate Center at the City University of New York, followed by a Master of Arts from the University of Delaware in 1973. Thereafter, she earned a Doctor of Philosophy from the Graduate Center at the City University of New York in 1983. Dr. Bolger also earned honorary degrees from the College of Notre Dame and MICA in 2008 and 2013, respectively.
Over the course of her career, Dr. Bolger contributed to, edited and/or authored 18 scholarly books, as well as supported and led fundraising events at various venues across the United States. She notably raised $75 million for The Baltimore Museum of Art and was responsible for the fundraising and accreditation of the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts and the Newark Museum of Art. During her time at the Amon Carter Museum, Dr. Bolger acquired the paintings of Thomas Cole and Thomas Eakins, through which she helped the museum raise $10 million to buy the 1884 Thomas Eakins painting, “The Swimming Hole.” Additionally, she is particularly proud of nearly doubling the endowment of The Baltimore Museum of Art from $56.2 million to $101 million, successfully paving the way for increasing the museum’s inclusivity for other masterpieces of art.
Bestowed with numerous accolades, Dr. Bolger was most recently inducted into the Business and Civic Hall of Fame by the Baltimore Sun in 2017. She also earned the Medal of Honor from MICA in 2015, was a guest of honor at the Single Carrot Theatre: A Celebration of Baltimore’s Arts Ecosystem in 2015, and received the William Donald Schaefer Baltimore Tourism Visionary Award from Visit Baltimore in 2013, among many others.