An artist and teacher from a family of artists and teachers, Dr. Heather McCune Bruhn started her academic career intending to become a painter. After receiving undergraduate degrees in Art History and Silkscreen Printmaking from Virginia Commonwealth University, she came to Penn State for her MA and PhD (2006) in Art History.
Her specialty is late Medieval goldsmithwork from Germany, a topic that she researched as a Fulbright grantee for one year in Cologne, Germany. This research helped to spark her interest in artistic technique, the meaning and function of works of art, the economics of art, and broader issues of historical and cultural context.
Working with the Office of Digital Learning in Penn State’s College of Arts and Architecture, she debuted her first online course (the original Art H. 111 online) in 2009, and her second online course (Art H. 112) in 2011. She first offered a revised version of Art H. 111 in 2016. The revised version is enhanced with material that Dr. McCune Bruhn researched and photographed in major European museums and sites in 2014-15, thanks to a course enhancement grant from the College of Arts and Architecture.
Her newest online course, Art H. 107/Geosci 107, Rocks, Minerals, and the History of Art, was co-developed with Dr. Maureen Feineman in Geosciences. That course explores many of the earth-derived materials for art, from both the geosciences and art history points of view.
She is currently working to both revise and update Art H. 112 and create a new global survey course for online delivery.
In addition to these online courses, Dr. McCune Bruhn regularly teaches several in-person courses, including Art History 111 in a lecture hall format, two Medieval art courses at the 300 level (Art H. 302, Early Medieval Art and Art H. 312, Romanesque and Gothic), and sometimes 400 level courses (e.g. The Medieval Treasury).
In 2022, Dr. McCune Bruhn received an Atherton Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching from Penn State, after being nominated by her students.