BA in Art History

Madison Bolls, 2008

Madison Bolls

So what are you up to now professionally?

After I received my Art History B.A. degree at Mason, I earned a Master of Library and Information Science degree at the Catholic University of America, focusing on Cultural Heritage Information Management. I served as a reference librarian for a few years, and I now work at the Institute for Museum and Library Services, which is a federal grantmaking agency for libraries, archives, and museums. The agency funds projects that support knowledge, cultural heritage, and lifelong learning, so it’s been great to learn about the overall strengths, impacts, and challenges of cultural institutions in the United States today.

I am also a visual artist myself, and I work in mixed media and painting. I am active in the DC area in exhibiting, curating and facilitating conversations about art.

How do you think your art history major at Mason prepared you for your career?

Beyond the well-rounded and challenging art history education I received, I had many “on the ground” opportunities available that prepared me for life outside of academics. Through Mason, I interned at the British Museum in London, where I accessioned artifacts in their Pre-history and Europe Department. That experience got me interested collection management, which ultimately led to my master’s in Information Science. 

I also think the information literacy and critical thinking skills I now possess from my time at Mason have been invaluable. The ability to develop a clear and concise argument and provide sources to support that argument is important in any career.

Why did you choose art history as a major in the first place?

I had been a total museum junkie growing up, so in combination with my lifelong practice in fine arts, it seemed like a logical fit. I wanted to know the global impact of art, as well as how such interesting and important artifacts ended up in museums.

Before college, I had never visited a foreign country, and I knew this major would give me an opportunity to study abroad (and I did, more than once!).  Multicultural understanding is integral to the study of art history, and ultimately leads to empathy and compassion. That is so important these days!