Bryn Mawr’s Art and Artifact collections, sometimes called College’s Collections, number more than 50,000 objects. These collections encompass five areas: fine art, which includes paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, and photographs; archaeology; anthropology; decorative arts; and geology. The collections enhance the educational mission of Bryn Mawr College and serve as a resource for diverse academic departments, including History of Art, Archaeology, Classics, Anthropology, Fine Arts, Growth and Structure of Cities, Geology, History, and Languages. Each year hundreds of objects from the collections are utilized for research by faculty, students, and outside scholars.
The Art and Artifact collections have developed over the past 124 years through generous donations from alumnae, faculty, and collectors. Bryn Mawr established one of the first independent archaeology departments in America and the earliest donation to the collection in 1901 included an important group of Greek vases. The anthropology collections were established in the 1950s and 1960s and include significant artifacts from North, Central, and South America, Africa, Asia, and prehistoric Europe. Highlights of the fine art collection include a rare set of prints by Mary Cassatt and portraits by John Singer Sargent, William Merritt Chase, and Cecelia Beaux.
Although Bryn Mawr has never established a museum, public exhibitions of works from the collections have been presented since the 1980s in the college libraries and the archaeology and anthropology departments. In addition, objects are regularly loaned to regional, national, and international museum exhibitions. In recent years, the Internet has made possible student-originated on-line exhibitions of the collections, which can be viewed at www.brynmawr.edu/collections/Exhibitions.
John Singer Sargent,
M. Carey Thomas, President of Bryn Mawr College(X.205)