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Sesquicentennial Snapshots: An Institution

Along with Vassar College, the Art Center is celebrating the sesquicentennial anniversary of our founding. In this weekly feature, we will look back on the rich 150-year history of the collection. Today’s post comes from Nicole M. Roylance, Coordinator of Public Education and Information.

The Vassar College homepage today features a snapshot of students before Art 105/106 in the 1950s.

Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 11:50AM I begin to hear rumblings outside of my office door. The wooden doors leading into Taylor Hall repeatedly slam open and shut. I hear murmured conversations and feet charging down the stairs. If you were driving onto campus at this time, you would see a steady stream of students filing down Main driveway. Where are they all headed? Art 105/106. This introductory art history course has been taught in the same classroom for decades and has become a rite of passage for generations of Vassar students. The museum has remained an important part of the course and allowed students to learn the history of art through the examination of original works from the collection.

Today’s Vassar College homepage features a snapshot taken from the 1950s of students readying themselves for an earlier session of Art 105/106. I love how the photograph captures the various emotions and attitudes before class begins. There is a pensive girl in the first row—ready for class to begin with her pen thoughtfully pressed against her chin. There are a few girls giggling further up- sharing an inside joke about the night before or perhaps the weekend to come. Although a photograph of students before class today would include different outfits and haircuts, I think the characters and gestures would remain largely the same.

Numerous Vassar students have remarked on the impact this class has had on their lives. You can read a few of those statements on the college’s Sesquicentennial website here.

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