A woman poses for a photo.
Samantha Imrie, a BGSU student pursuing a master's in art history, will travel to two European countries this summer after securing a high-profile internship and a research grant. (BGSU photo/Craig Bell)

BGSU art history student awarded prestigious experiences at Notre Dame cathedral and Fitzwilliam Museum

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Graduate student Samantha Imrie will join the restoration efforts at the Paris cathedral damaged by fire in 2019 and will study 15th-century manuscripts in Cambridge

Samantha Imrie figured it couldn’t hurt to apply for a prestigious art-history-related internship and a separate highly sought-after research grant, both of which would take place in Europe during the summer of 2024.

While she initially wasn’t sure if the applications would lead anywhere, a dream scenario materialized: Imrie landed not one but both, cementing the summer of a lifetime.

First, Imrie – who is pursuing a Master of Arts in Art History at Bowling Green State University – recently arrived in France for a study abroad experience to work on a restoration team at Notre Dame de Paris, which is set to reopen this year following a devastating fire in 2019.

Later this summer, she will head to the University of Cambridge in England after being selected as a recipient of the James Marrow Research Fund, through which she will perform first-hand research at the Fitzwilliam Museum on 15th-century illuminated manuscripts that predate the invention of the printing press.

By exploring the preservation of two types of art history, Imrie’s summer experiences will put her BGSU education into action with two comprehensive, real-world experiences.

“I wasn’t completely exposed to art history in my younger years, but it was something I discovered in college that I was passionate about and wanted to follow,” she said. “There are so many ways to use an art history degree or humanities degrees in general because you learn so many skills that are transferrable: you learn critical thinking, research skills and how to market projects you’re working on, which really helps you anywhere.”

The chance to be part of a restoration team, which is organized through Academic Program International and structured similarly to a class, will bring students into Notre Dame during a key stage of restoration after the 2019 fire partially destroyed parts of the cathedral. The reopening is scheduled for Dec. 8, 2024.

After the completion of the Paris-based internship in late July, Imrie is scheduled to head to England just days later.

For Imrie – who came to BGSU to study illuminated, or illustrated, manuscripts – the grant represents the opportunity to do exactly what she set out to do before enrolling.

“Before the books were printed, they were all written by hand, and I just think they’re such cool objects,” she said. “They were these luxurious objects before printed type and they’re so richly illustrated as well, which makes them especially interesting to study because you get to study literature and art. I’m very excited to see them in person and research what I have always dreamed of researching.”

During her time at BGSU, Imrie has had the opportunity to learn art history research from expert faculty.

As Imrie pursues her research interest in 15th-century manuscripts, Art History Professor Dr. Allie Terry-Fritsch has been there to guide her through the process and provide encouragement.

“I was really excited to work with my advisor here, Dr. Allie Terry-Fritsch, who is an expert in late-Renaissance Baroque art and does amazing research on performativity and somaesthetics,” she said. “I came into BGSU wanting to research 15th-century manuscripts, and Dr. Terry-Fritsch is very familiar with that time period as well, so having her as my advisor worked out great. She definitely encourages you to engage with whatever you want to engage with, and I knew I really wanted to study illuminated manuscripts.”

The chance to have both experiences in the same summer was a welcome surprise for Imrie, who said she would never have expected to be performing research in two European countries as an undergraduate student studying art.

“I just said, ‘There’s no harm in applying,’ hoping they might like my proposal,” she said. "As an undergrad, I never would have thought that I could or would have applied for an international grant at the Fitzwilliam Museum and get it.”

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Media Contact | Michael Bratton | mbratto@bgsu.edu | 419-372-6349

Updated: 06/13/2024 09:01AM