The Arts of the Ancient Americas Gallery is closed until late October for improvements. The Chinese Gallery is closed for maintenance until late September. Thank you for your patience as we work on upgrading our galleries.

Master Series

master series at wam

The Worcester Art Museum's Third Thursday Master Series features in-depth presentations by art scholars, providing insights and stories about works in the Museum's collection or on view in special exhibitions. The art talks are held on most third Thursdays in the Museum Café at 6pm. See our upcoming online events listed below.

Access to all events is by advance registration only. To register for an event, click on the associated 'Register Now' button in the table below. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email and ticket.

Cost: Members free; Nonmembers $5. (Please note that the Museum is not currently open for general admission on 3rd Thursdays.)

Masks are now required for all visitors, age 5 and over, to the Worcester Art Museum, regardless of vaccination status. This policy, in response to rising COVID 19 cases in Worcester County, is effective August 5, 2021.

Hosted by the WAM Members Council, the Third Thursday Masters Series is presented with support from the Bernard G. and Louise B. Palitz Fund and the Amelia and Robert H. Haley Memorial Lecture Fund.

Sponsored by:   Abbvie logo


Close-up photo of a bust of John Brown, sculpted by Edward Augustus Brackett

Creating an Icon: Edward Augustus Brackett's visit to John Brown's Prison Cell

Thursday, October 21, 2021, 6pm

Speaker: Laura C. McDonald, Art Collections Registrar at Tufts University Art Gallery.

McDonald will share the amazing story of the bust sculptor Edward Augustus Brackett carved of abolitionist John Brown and will trace how the bust went missing at Tufts University. WAM will share an update on its conservation project of Brackett's Shipwrecked Mother and Child.

Detail of the cover of the book “Men of Terror” by Dr. William Short

Men of Terror: A Comprehensive Analysis of Viking Combat

Thursday, November 18, 2021, 6pm

Speaker: William R. Short, PhD, author, filmmaker, lecturer, and independent scholar specializing in Viking-age topics.

One thousand years ago, a runestone memorial was raised to a man named Fraði, called the “first among Vikings” and a “terror of men.” In this lecture, William Short discusses his new book that looks at how Viking society revolved around violence, seen in many sources. The holistic picture of Viking combat created from these sources allows us to understand Viking society and put a human face on these men of terror. WAM will also share information about our recently acquired Viking Sword.

Angus McBean, 'Berto Pasuka' (detail), 1947, vintage bromide print

Love Stories from the National Portrait Gallery, London

Thursday, February 17, 2022, 6pm

Speakers: Lucy Peltz, PhD, Head of Collection Displays (Tudor to Regency) and Senior Curator 18th Century Collections from the National Portrait Gallery, London; A. Cassandra Albinson, PhD, Head, Division of European and American Art, and Margaret S. Winthrop, PhD, Curator of European Art, Harvard Art Museums.

This Valentine's Week presentation focuses on works in our special exhibition Love Stories from the National Portrait Gallery, London, with the exhibition curator, Lucy Peltz, in conversation about selected works from this exhibition with two art scholars from Harvard Art Museums.

Byron Kim, 'Synecdoche' (detail), 1992-1998, wax and oil on panel

Us Them We | Race Ethnicity Identity

Thursday, March 17, 2022, 6pm

Speaker: Kimberly Juanita Brown, PhD, Associate Professor of English and Creative Writing, Dartmouth College.

Us Them We | Race Ethnicity Identity considers the ways that artists from the last forty years accentuate concepts like race and ethnicity through four formal devices: Text, Juxtaposition, Seriality and Pattern. Artists often employ one or more of these approaches as a means of storytelling, protest and celebration. Kimberly Juanita Brown, a specialist in visual culture studies, will address selected works in the exhibition and will share her thoughts on the stories they tell.

Valentin de Boulogne's Soldiers Playing Cards and Dice (The Cheats)

Thursday, April 21, 2022, 6pm

Speaker: Eve Straussman-Pflanzer, PhD, Curator and head of Italian and Spanish paintings, The National Gallery of Art, Washington.

Eve Strassman-Pflanzer discusses Boulogne's painting, The Cheats, on loan from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, including the artist's masterful use of shadow and light and imagery to convey the vices and unpredictability of life.

Amulets and Adornments from Islamic Lands

Thursday, May 19, 2022, 6pm

Speaker: Courtney Ann Stewart, Researcher of Islamic Art History, and the History of Jewelry and Gemstones.

As a prelude to the opening of Jewels of the Nile: Ancient Egyptian Treasures from the Collection of the Worcester Art Museum, Courtney Ann Stewart talks about jewelry and gemstones from the Islamic world, highlighting the various associations of such ornaments, from symbols of power to sacred objects of protection. Featuring stunning artwork from the WAM Collection and others, Islamic jewelry will be contextualized and connected to precursors from Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia.


The Iconic Jersey: Baseball x Fashion


Thursday, June 17, 2021, 6pm

Speaker: Todd Radom
Talk: Baseball by Design: Looking at the Rich Visual History of Our National Pastime. Todd Radom will speak on his expertise of the graphic design for professional sports, the aesthetics of baseball, and the dynamics of brand loyalty between consumers and professional sports franchises.

Kikugawa Eizan, The Courtesan Yoyoyama of the Matsubaya with Her Two Young Female Attendants Standing Under Branches of Cherry Blossoms, detail, ca. 1830

The Kimono in Print


Thursday, April 15, 2021, 6pm

Speaker: Monika Bincsik, PhD, Diane and Arthur Abbey Associate Curator for Japanese Decorative Arts, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Art Talk: Kimono Fashion in Kyoto.

Reinstallation of WAM's Asian Art galleries

Thursday, May 20, 2021, 6pm

Speakers: Laura Weinstein, Ananda Coomaraswamy Curator of South Asian and Islamic Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and Karina Corrigan, Associate Director of Collections and the H.A. Crosby Forbes Curator of Asian Export Art at the Peabody Essex Museum.
Art Talk: Multiple Voices on Asian Art Collection Reinstallation Display in the 21st Century.

3D rendering of the proposed Lancaster Entrance stairs at WAM

The Lancaster Plaza Project

Thursday, March 18, 2021, 6pm

Speaker: Seth Wiseman
Talk: Lancaster Plaza: Vision, Process + Future. The Lancaster Plaza begins the process of resolving issues with guest circulation and experience. Join us to learn more about the project vision, the design and construction process, as well as how it fits into the bigger picture.

Reginald Gammon, Holy Family, 1964

Reginald Gammon

Holy Family

Thursday, February 18, 2021, 6pm

Speaker: Kimberly Bobier, PhD, Assistant Visiting Professor in the Department of History of Art and Design at Pratt Institute.
Art Talk: Reginald Gammon: Notes on Assembly.

Image left: detail, © 2019 Estate of Reginald Gammon / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY

Paula Modersohn-Becker

Three Boys Bathing by a Canal

Thursday, November 19, 2020, 6pm

Speaker: Diane Radycki
Art Talk: Paula Modersohn-Becker's Three Boys Bathing by a Canal. Diane Radycki will discuss WAM's recent acquisition of German painter Paula Modersohn-Becker's Three Boys Bathing by a Canal. Radycki will also highlight Van Gogh's Portrait of Postman Roulin, which is currently on loan to WAM from the Detroit Institute of Arts.

John Singleton Copley, Paul Revere, 1768

Thursday, February 20, 2020, 6pm

Speaker: Ethan Lasser, PhD, John Moors Cabot Chair, Art of the Americas at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
Art Talk: Paul Revere and John Singleton Copley: Making an American Icon.

Image left: detail, photograph © 2019 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Robert Heineken, Untitled (Are You Rea), 1964-1968

Thursday, November 21, 2019, 6pm

Speaker: Diana Tuite, Katz Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Colby College Museum of Art.
Art Talk: Paraphotography: Doing Things with Images.

Presented with support from the Michie Family Curatorial Fund, the Amelia and Robert H. Haley Memorial Lecture Fund, the Bernard and Louise Palitz Fund, and the Spear Fund for Public Programs.

Image left: detail, © Estate of Robert Heineken, courtesy of Cherry and Martin Gallery

Otto Dix, The Pregnant Woman, 1931

Thursday, October 17, 2019, 6pm

Speakers: Ute Tellini, former editor of the Woman's Art Journal and author of Images of Women During the Weimar Republic in Germany and Michelle Vangen, PhD, Art History Professor, Kingsborough Community College, CUNY.
Art Talks: Images of Women during the Weimar Republic and Images of Maternity in Otto Dix.

Image left: detail, © 2019 Artists Rights Society (ARS), NewYork/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

Thomas Eakins

The Spinner

Thursday, May 16, 2019, 6pm

Speaker: Erin Corrales-Diaz, PhD, Assistant Curator of American Art at the Worcester Art Museum.
Topic: Thomas Eakins' The Spinner.

Lee Mingwei

Stone Journey

Thursday, April 18, 2019, 6pm

Speaker: Lee Mingwei, contemporary artist.
Topic: Five Stories.

Utagawa Hiroshige

Travels with Hiroshige

Thursday, March 21, 2019, 6pm

Speaker: Kit Brooks, PhD, Independent Curator.
Topic: Blending into the Woodwork.

Thursday, February 21, 2019, 6pm

Speaker: Gloria Groom, Ph. D., David and Winton Green Curator at The Art Institute of Chicago
Topic: New Light on Monet

Thursday, November 15, 2018, 6pm

Speaker: David Roxburgh, Ph. D., the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Professor of Islamic Art History at Harvard University.
Topic: Illustrating Epic Poetry and History in Persian manuscripts from the Mongols to the Timurids.

Thursday, October 18, 2018, 6pm

Speakers: T. Amanda Lett, Ph.D. Candidate, History of Art and Architecture Boston University; Diane Rousseau, stained glass conservator; and Amanda Chau, Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in Objects Conservation. Topic: The Techniques, Conservation, and History of John La Farge's Stained Glass.

Attributed to Leonardo da Vinci and Lorenzo di Credi

A Miracle of Saint Donatus of Arezzo

Thursday, May 17, 2018, 6pm

Rediscovering Leonardo: Laurence Kanter, chief curator and the Lionel Goldfrank III Curator of European Art, Yale University Art Gallery, delves into the fascinating story behind this mysterious panel painting.

Thursday, April 19, 2018, 6pm

Issues in Contemporary Art: contemporary artist Byron Kim will speak about his captivating life and work, including his unique approach to portraiture.

Thursday, March 15, 2018, 6pm

A Reinterpretation of Ancient Music at the Chinese Tang Court: enjoy a cello concert with College of the Holy Cross visiting musician-in-residence, Jan Muller-Szeraws. This performance will be introduced by Shirish Korde, composer and professor, College of the Holy Cross.

Assyrian (Nimrud)

A Winged Genius

Thursday, February 15, 2018, 6pm

In the Company of Genies: Ada Cohen, professor of Art History and the Israel Evans Professor in Oratory and Belles Lettres at Dartmouth College, contextualizes WAM's winged genius within the palace of the 9th-century BCE Assyrian king Ashurnasirpal II at Nimrud in modern-day Iraq, where it was one of many such figures.

Winslow Homer

The Gale

Thursday, November 16, 2017, 6pm

Color and Line: Homer's Studies in England. Looking at Homer's English work for changes in color and line, Judith Walsh, Professor Emerita of Paper conservation, SUNY Buffalo State College, will show that this period was critical to his later success as demonstrated in the painting, The Gale.

Thursday, October 19, 2017, 6pm

Maurice Wallace, associate director of the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies, University of Virginia, will present the topic “We Look Like Men: Early Photography, War, and the Double-Bind of Black Manhood.” Strong Eagle Daly, Nipmuc flutist, will play a tribute to his ancestors preceding the lecture.

Thursday, May 18, 2017, 6pm

Speaker: Vivian Li, Assistant Curator of Asian Art, Worcester Art Museum

Thursday, April 20, 2017, 6pm

Speaker: Paula Artal-Isbrand, objects conservator, Worcester Art Museum; Amanda Reiterman, Archaeologist.

Thursday, March 16, 2017, 6pm

Devotion, Illusion, Curtains, and Candles: The Virgin Mary in Colonial Peru

Speaker: Michael Schreffler, Associate Professor, Art and Architecture of Spain and Latin America in the 16th and 17th centuries, University of Notre Dame.

Thursday, February 16, 2017, 6pm

Speaker: Heather Lemonedes, Chief Curator, Cleveland Museum of Art.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir

The Jewish Wedding

Thursday, November 17, 2016, 6pm

Speaker: Judith Dolkart, Mary Stripp and R. Crosby Kemper Director, Addison Gallery of American Art

Thursday, October 20, 2016, 6pm

Speaker: Valerie J. Mercer, Curator of the General Motors Center for African American Art, Detroit Institute of Arts

Image: © 2016 The Jacob and Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence Foundation, Seattle / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York


The Storm (A Lady Taking Shelter from the Monsoon Wind and Rain)

Thursday, September 15, 2016, 6pm

The Figurative and the Narrative in Courtly and Contemporary Art of India. Speaker: Vishakha Desai, Special Advisor for Global Affairs to the President of Columbia University and Professor of Professional Practice at the School of International and Public Affairs

Thursday, May 19, 2016, 6pm

Learn about this rare and important German fencing manual, and explore the fascinating prints it contains to illustrate the Art of Combat. Speaker: Jeffrey Forgeng, Curator of Arms, Armor, and Medieval Art, Worcester Art Museum.

Vision, Perception, and Art

Thursday, April 21, 2016, 6pm

Dr. Margaret Livingstone will explore the topic of Vision, Perception, and Art, focusing on objects in WAM's permanent collection, including Paul Signac's pointillist work Golfe Juan. Speaker: Margaret Livingstone, Takeda Professor of Neurobiology, Harvard Medical School

Thursday, March 17, 2016, 6pm

Roman Spectacular Blood Sports:
Both magnificent and menacing, the Worcester gladiatorial helmet invites us to enter the world of the Roman arena with its spectacular combats of men against men and against beasts… Read more
Speaker: Donald G Kyle, Professor of History, University of Texas, Arlington

Thursday, February 18, 2016, 6pm

Explore Bonnard's enigmatic and delightful country scene through this exciting loan. Speaker: Worcester Art Museum Director Matthias Waschek

Thursday, November 19, 2015, 6pm

Although small in stature, this stone figure reveals much about Olmec religion and culture. Learn what research performed in WAM's conservation lab has uncovered about this figure's facial scarification, body modification, and other spiritual symbols. Speaker: John Garton, Clark University

Thursday, October 15, 2015, 6pm

Work by Worcester native Terri Priest (who passed away in 2014) is as varied as it is loved. Learn more about the woman behind this newly acquired work by the Worcester Art Museum. Speaker: Roger Dunn, Bridgewater State University

John Brewster, Jr.

Portrait of Mary Coffin

Thursday, September 17, 2015, 6pm

A Deaf Artist in Early America: The World of John Brewster, Jr.: John Brewster Jr. (1766-1854) was a prolific, deaf itinerant painter, who produced many portraits of New England families, especially their children. Speaker: Paul D'Ambrosio, President and CEO at Fenimore Art Museum & The Farmers' Museum

Thursday, May 21, 2015, 6pm

Yoshitoshi: Composer Shirish Korde will speak about the different types of historical Japanese flutes. Flutist Alice Jones will perform three musical pieces, including Korde's famed "The Tenderness of Cranes."

Thursday, April 16, 2015, 6pm

Rembrandt and Fallibility: Jon L. Seydl, director of curatorial affairs and curator of European art, shares insights on two early works by the Dutch master.

Anthony van Dyck

Portrait of a Man

Thursday, March 19, 2015, 6pm

Portrait of a Man: Matthew Cushman, project conservator at Yale University, and Jon L. Seydl, director of curatorial affairs and curator of European art, discuss what conservation has revealed about this painting by Anthony van Dyck.

Thursday, February 19, 2015, 6pm

The Cowper Madonna: Scholar Linda Wolk-Simon, Director and Chief Curator, University Collections, Bellarmine Museum of Art, Fairfield University, sheds light on the Renaissance master, Raphael.

This lecture is generously supported by the Robert and Amelia Hutchinson Haley Lectures Fund.

Thursday, November 20, 2014, 6pm

Reflections on Rockwell: Deborah Solomon, author of American Mirror: The Life and Art of Norman Rockwell talks about one of America's most beloved artists.

Thursday, October 16, 2014, 6pm

Preserving Mr. and Mrs. James: Worcester Art Museum conservators Rita Albertson and Philip Klausmeyer discuss their work restoring the Hogarth paintings.