• B.A., St. Olaf College
  • M.A., National Taiwan University
  • Ph.D., University of Chicago

Courses Taught

  • Arts of China
  • Museum Studies


Beckman, J. and C. Story. American Landscapes. Wright Museum Collects Series. Vol. 2., Wright Museum of Art. Beloit College, 2022.

Franklin Boggs: Fifty Years in Paint, Wright Museum of Art. Beloit College.

Beckman, J. ed. Wright Museum Collects Series. Vol. 1., Wright Museum of Art. Beloit College, 2018.

At the Mouth of the Grave: Chariot Fittings in Eastern Zhou Burials. Artibus Asiae, v.76.1 (2016).

“The Meaning of Material: Ritual Vessel Assemblages in Chu Burials of the 4th and 3rd Century BC,” Antiquity Fall, 2013.

Faculty and Student Curators: An Exhibit Template for Course Integration. in S. Jandl and M. Gold (eds.) Academic Museums: Campus and Community, MuseumsInc. 2012.

Beckman, J., and Kasten S., eds., East Asian Art and Inquiry at a Midwestern College, Beloit College, 2012.

Sui: Gifting of Warring States Burial Shrouds. Yishushi yanjiu 艺术史研究, v.5, 2004, pp.127-142.

Minister Zhao’s Grave: Staging an Eastern Zhou Burial. Orientations v.34 no.5 (May 2002), pp. 22-26.

Joy Beckman

Professor and George S. Parker II Chair in Art History, Director of the Wright Museum of Art

 Email:  Phone: 608-363-2097  Office: Wright Museum 212A

I majored in chemistry at St. Olaf, a small liberal arts college in Minnesota, although my real passion lay in Asian art. Fortunately, I was able to study Chinese at St. Olaf and to take Asian art history courses at the University of Minnesota in my senior year, thanks to the University’s proximity to St. Olaf. When a faculty member suggested I pursue a masters degree in art history in Taiwan, I jumped at the chance. At this point, my chemistry degree kicked in; a summer job in a Pfizer lab paid my way to Taiwan. Once there, I studied enough classical Chinese to be admitted to the National Taiwan University. I learned that objects can teach, while afterward in my doctoral studies at the University of Chicago, I read theory. Taken together, those studies guide my work today, both as a faculty member and as the director of Beloit’s Wright Museum of Art.

As an art historian teaching visual studies, my goal is for students to learn to look and, specifically, to look at what is important to them. If football is your passion, what can films of games teach you? In turn, in my museum studies courses, I hope students will learn to think critically about museums, their design and purpose. If the students were to design a museum, what would it look like? Which stories would it tell? How would it engage the public? No matter if the students I teach ever take another visual studies or museum studies course, I hope they will be able to identify what matters to them, and that by making connections among the various subjects they’ve studied, they will be able to pursue that interest.

When I moved to Beloit, I was able to buy a neglected Victorian house. Over the years, I’ve been able to restore both the exterior and interior. Taking care of the house provides me with great satisfaction.

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