Molly Bourne ’87

An art history major at Williams, Molly immediately went on to receive a Master’s in Italian Renaissance Art History from Syracuse University in Florence, an experience that provided a satisfying year-long sojourn in Italy and a chance to perfect her language skills.

Upon completing the degree, however, Molly decided to test a longstanding interest in law, and took a position as a researcher for an environmental non-profit in Washington D.C. One year later, after spending many a weekend visiting museums and realizing that art history was indeed her true love, she decided to pursue a career in museum work and became a summer intern at the National Gallery of Art in our nation’s capital. Following this, she remained on staff at the NGA for another year doing contractual work (as an exhibition lecturer and then as research assistant), and then took up a year-long internship in the education department at The Cleveland Museum of Art.

As a result of these internships, Molly felt that a PhD was needed in order to gain a high-level curatorial job in a major museum, and returned once again to graduate school. While a doctoral candidate, the opportunity to work as a teaching assistant revealed her passion for teaching, and Molly’s career goal shifted to one in academia as a university professor, with hopes of still maintaining close contact with original works of art. Her fieldwork in Italian Renaissance Art led to her decision, upon completing the PhD, to seek employment in Italy; awash in Renaissance art and a place she had grown to love.

Molly’s first job was as a Project Researcher for the Medici Archive Project, Inc., a non-profit archival research initiative based in Florence, Italy. While serving in this capacity, a part-time faculty position became available at Syracuse University in Florence, Molly’s post-Williams alma mater, and she gladly welcomed the chance to return to teaching. This part-time post soon became full-time, and Molly has now been a member of the SUF faculty for over 11 years. The opportunity to teach art history in Florence, an open-air classroom in which she has a chance to transmit to students her infectious enthusiasm for art history, is Molly’s greatest source of satisfaction.