Margaret Hanni


I completed my Bachelor's degree in Art at Simmons and my Master's degree and Ph.D in Art History at Boston University. Simmons is a wonderful place to teach or take art history because we are surrounded by amazing museums and galleries. Two world class museums, the Museum of Fine Arts and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, are each a five-minute walk from campus, so I take full advantage of this for every course I teach, taking students to the museums regularly for looking and discussion as part of class. I introduce the professionals who work in these organizations to Simmons students interested in art and culture to help them understand the many options open to them as they pursue a meaningful career. I work with museums to match students interests with the many excellent internships opportunities nearby.

Research/Creative Activities

My research interests include baroque and eighteenth century portraiture in general, and the marriage portrait in Georgian England in particular and women art collectors and patrons. My essay on the 18th equestrian marriage portrait in England is published in Breaking New Ground in Art History: A Festschrift in Honor of Alicia Craig Faxon (Washington D.C. New Academia, 20140. My interest in the history of collecting in England has led me to develop an unusual undergraduate course on the history of art collecting that is taught in London and uses the city's museums and the English country house as sites for study.

The history of American museums and collectors is another research interest, and I have published work on Mary Cassatt's role as an advisor to American women collectors. I lecture on various topics connected to The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and working with the Museum, have designed a unique upper level seminar for Simmons called Art of the Gardner. This course studies the founder, Isabella Gardner, and her role in American collecting, the treasures on view at the museum, as well as the organization, mission and programs of the museum today.

My recent research looks at textiles of Southeast Asia and the means by which this art form is used to communicate values, traditions and gender roles in society. I am curating an exhibition of textiles from Laos and Myanmar for the Trustman Art Gallery at Simmons. Skirting Identity: Women and Weaving in Laos and Myanmar will open in March 2015.