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Penn State College of Arts and Architecture
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Heather McCune Bruhn

Associate Teaching Professor of Art History
Heather McCune Bruhn

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. 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 has recently updated Art H. 112 online to make its content more diverse and is finishing development of a new global survey course for online delivery (Art H. 101, Introduction to Global Art History). In addition to her online courses, Dr. McCune Bruhn sometimes offers in-person courses (including Art H. 111, 302, 312, and 400-level special topics courses). In 2022, Dr. McCune Bruhn received an Atherton Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching from Penn State, after being nominated by her students. She was promoted to Associate Teaching Professor in 2023 and has won additional grants to enhance her teaching through research both in the United States and in Europe.

  • Education
    • BFA in art history and BFA in painting and printmaking from Virginia Commonwealth University
    • MA from The Pennsylvania State University
    • PhD from The Pennsylvania State University
  • Expertise
    • Western Medieval Art and Architecture