Our partnerships reflect the breadth of Bard Graduate Center’s interests and the ambitiousness of its goals. We collaborate with other research institutes devoted to the study of the history of art; with other university departments devoted to the study of American material culture; with foundations committed to advancing curatorial practice; with collecting institutions in New York that seek to prepare the next generation of museum scholars; as well as with international research interlocutors with whom, together, we are seeking to broaden the field of conservation and cultural heritage science.

Cultural Sciences Campus: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The New-York Historical Society, The American Museum of Natural History, The Frick Collection, The Museum of Arts and Design

Bard Graduate Center’s partner institutions, in what we call our “Cultural Sciences Campus,” include The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the New-York Historical Society, the American Museum of Natural History, The Frick Collection, and the Museum of Arts and Design. Our relationships extend through exhibition programs to shared faculty.

With The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the New-York Historical Society, we have organized multi-semester projects in which faculty and curators choose an exhibition topic, put together a curriculum for the instruction of students, and then supervise the students who participate in the exhibition’s progress as a checklist is created, a narrative is established, a book is written, and the physical dimension takes form in the Bard Graduate Center Gallery.

With the American Museum of Natural History, we sponsor a post-doctoral fellowship based partly in the museum and partly at Bard Graduate Center. The Fellow works on a pre-determined aspect of the Anthropology Division’s ethnographic collection, teaches about it at BGC, and then curates a Focus Project. These projects include Aaron Glass’s Objects of Exchange: Social and Material Transformation on the Late Nineteenth-Century Northwest Coast (2011), Erin Hassinoff’s Confluences: An American Expedition to Northern Burma, 1935 (2013), Nicola Sharratt’s Carrying Cocoa: Textile Bags in the Andes 200-2000 (2014), Shawn Rowlands’s Frontier Shores: Collection, Entanglement, and the Manufacture of Identity in Oceania (2015), and Urmila Mohan’s Fabricating Power with Balinese Textiles. The current project, which explores Southwestern textiles, is being prepared by current fellow Hadley Jensen.

At The Frick Collection, Charlotte Vignon, Curator of Decorative Arts, teaches on the history of the collection and welcomes students to work on the museum’s collection. Her recent courses include The Art of Eighteenth-Century Gilt Bronze and Learning to Look: Principles of Connoisseurship. Similarly, Elissa Auther, Windgate Research Collections Curator at the Museum of Arts and Design, has an office and teaches one course a year at BGC. Her recent courses include Craft and Counterculture and New Readings in Craft and Contemporary Art.

We call this institutional constellation by the term “Cultural Sciences” (Kulturwissenschaften) to evoke the German world c. 1900 which anticipated the convergence of inquiries into art, society, economy, history, and religion. At BGC, where the study of objects-in-context is central, the approaches and perspectives of these other disciplines and fields are an essential part of the tool-kits of faculty and students. The best model for what we aspire to achieve was Aby Warburg’s Kulturwissenschaftliche Bibliothek Warburg (Warburg Library for the Cultural Sciences), established in Hamburg in the first decade of the twentieth century, which brought together art historians, archaeologists, anthropologists, historians of religion, and literary scholars in an unprecedented collaboration aimed at understanding the development of human society through its traces and symbols. We call it a “campus” because all these institutions perch on Central Park like university buildings around its quadrangle.

MacArthur X-Series
Research may well be the key word in our contemporary knowledge culture with global spending exceeding an estimated $1 trillion, and its importance acknowledged by governments, industry, and academia around the world. Yet, the idea of research, the practice of research, and the social life of research is not a subject of reflection. Of the 164 million items in the catalogue of the Library of Congress only 43 fall into the category “Research—History.” To begin the task of understanding research we have gathered a group of artists, scientists, and humanists who have won MacArthur “genius” awards for three evenings of discussion. These conversations launch a project on research that will culminate in an exhibition at the Bard Graduate Center in Fall 2023.

Supported by the MacArthur Foundation.


The Association of Research Institutes in Art History (ARIAH) was incorporated in 1988 to promote scholarship by institutes of advanced research in the history of art and related disciplines; to provide general information about the scholarly activities of its member institutes; and to develop cooperative projects and programs. It currently consists of 25 member institutions, including the Getty Research Institute, Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, and Dumbarton Oaks. Bard Graduate Center has been a member since 2014.

Rijksmuseum and University of Amsterdam

The international Summer School in “Museum Objects as Evidence” is organized by the Rijksmuseum, the University of Amsterdam and the Bard Graduate Center. Its purpose is to introduce students, both beginning and more advanced, to the ways in which museum objects can be studied as historical evidence—as proofs of claims about how people lived or thought in past times. The specific intellectual perspectives of curators, conservators and professors will be highlighted. Sessions will be held in the galleries of the Rijksmuseum as well as in its conservation laboratories. Travel to relevant museums, laboratories and sites will be included. Instruction will be provided by curators and conservators from the Rijksmuseum, and professors from the University of Amsterdam and Bard Graduate Center. More information can be found here.

Chipstone Foundation
A five-year collaboration with the Chipstone Foundation brings objects from its extensive collection of American decorative arts and material culture to Bard Graduate Center’s study collection. An annual curatorial practice course serves as the hub for a series of related events: themed borrowing of objects each fall, an “Object Lab” in New York planned by Chipstone before the spring semester begins, a series of visitors from the Chipstone world during the semester, including visits from a contemporary maker of the type of object borrowed that year, and student exhibitions built around the objects at the end of the semester.
The Consortium for American Material Culture

Founded by Bard Graduate Center in 2007, the Consortium for American Material Culture (CAMC) has brought together leading academics and curators from such institutions as Boston University, Brown University, Cooper-Hewitt/Parsons Program, Cooperstown Graduate Program, Harvard Art Museums, Michigan State University Museum, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, New York University, Penn State Harrisburg, Rutgers University-Camden, University of Delaware, Winterthur Museum, Hagley Museum and Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of Pennsylvania, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Chipstone Foundation, and Yale University. At annual meetings each May, the group discusses a broad range of issues in material culture studies. Meetings at Bard Graduate Center also have included participants from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the New-York Historical Society, Brooklyn Museum, Museum of the City of New York, Museum of Arts and Design, the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, and the 9/11 Memorial Museum.