An accomplished artist, Doreen Bolger, PhD, completed a bachelor’s degree, magna cum laude, at Bucknell University in 1971, followed by a master’s degree at the University of Delaware in 1973. That same year, she began her career as a field representative for the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts before joining the Metropolitan Museum of Art as a research associate in the department of American paintings and sculpture in 1976. Remaining with the Met, she served as an assistant curator from 1978 to 1982 and as an associate curator of American paintings and sculpture from 1982 to 1988. During this period, Dr. Bolger achieved her Doctor of Philosophy from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York in 1983.
Dr. Bolger concluded her tenure at the Metropolitan Museum of Art as the curator of American paintings and sculpture and the manager of the Henry R. Luce Center for the Study of American Art in 1989. From 1989 to 1994, she served as the curator of paintings and sculpture at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Texas, which she followed with a position as the director of the Rhode Island School of Design Museum from 1994 to 1998. She retired in 2015, following 17 years as the director of the Baltimore Museum of Art. Since then, Dr. Bolger has remained active in the field as a consultant for arts and nonprofit management in Baltimore, having worked with the Maryland Art Place, the Reynolda House Museum of American Art and the Crow Museum of Asian Art.
Alongside her primary responsibilities, Dr. Bolger has donated her time as an adjunct professor for several colleges and universities as well as on various boards and committees. She has also done considerable fundraising work, including for the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Kalamazoo Institute of the Arts and the Newark Museum of Art. The co-curator for numerous exhibitions, she has additionally served as an author and/or editor for 18 scholarly books and numerous articles in professional journals, notably co-authoring “American Impressionism and Realism: The Paintings of Modern Life, 1885-1915” in 1994 and co-editing “William M. Harnett” in 1992.
For her excellence, Dr. Bolger has been awarded two honorary degrees, one from Notre Dame of Maryland University and the other from the Maryland Institute College of Art, which also presented her with a Medal of Honor. She has further received numerous honors for her contributions to the city of Baltimore, including being inducted into the Business and Civic Hall of Fame by the Baltimore Sun, featured as a guest of honor at Single Carrot Theatre’s “A Celebration of Baltimore’s Arts Ecosystem,” and presented with the William Donald Schaefer Baltimore Tourism Visionary Award from Visit Baltimore, among many others. Beyond these accolades, Dr. Bolger considers the highlight of her career to be helping the Amon Carter Museum of American Art acquire Thomas Eakins’ “The Swimming Hole” and Thomas Cole’s “Garden of Eden.”