Elizabeth E. Barker

Mead Art Museum

History of Art


Ph.D., 2003, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University
M.A., 1995, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University
B.A., 1992, Yale University

Current Research

As a social historian of art specializing in British drawings and paintings of the 18th and 19th centuries, I'm interested in reconstructing the imaginative experiences of early viewers through the close analysis of original artifacts and primary source materials. My ongoing research into the work of Joseph Wright of Derby, whose tenebrist paintings formed the subject of my doctoral dissertation, seeks to situate Wright's paintings within the histories of science, popular culture, and economics—as well as art.


At the Mead, I'm working to link Amherst's encyclopedic art collection meaningfully to teaching and research across the disciplines in a spirit of experimentation, integrity, and intellectual rigor, in ways that challenge notions of museums as elitist sites of social control through new programs and policies intended to cultivate an atmosphere of inclusion and opportunity.    


Click here


Finalist, William M. B. Berger Prize  2008, 2005
Henry Allen Moe Prize, 2007
Finalist, Art Newspaper/AXA Art Exhibition Catalogue Award, 2005
Theodore Rousseau Memorial Travel Grant, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2003, 2002, 2000
Robert Goldwater Fellowship, New York University, 2000–2001
New York Times Foundation Fellowship, MMA/BM Exchange Program, 2000
Travel Grant, College Art Association, 1999
Student Travel Grant, New York University, 1999
Theodore Rousseau Twelve-Month Fellowship, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1998–1999
Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art Nine Month Fellowship, 1997 –1998
Robert Lehman Fellowship, New York University, 1995–1997
Isabel and Alfred Bader Travel Grant, New York University, 1995
Shelby White and Leon Levy Travel Fellowship, New York University, 1994
Ida and William Rosenthal Foundation Fellowship, New York University, 1993–1995
A. Conger Goodyear Award in History of Art, Yale University, 1992


College of the Holy Cross, 2013
University of Massachusetts Honors College, 2011
Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, 2009, 1999
Bruce Museum, 2008
University of Liverpool, 2007
New York University, 2006
British Museum, 2006
Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2006, 2000
University College London, 2006
The Royal Oak Foundation, New York, 2003
The Huntington Library, 2002
College Art Association Annual Conference, 1999