Ever wanted to know how the Polar Bear statue came to be, or why there are so many sets of memorial gateways on the Bowdoin campus?

A forthcoming book written and produced by the students of Art History 362 and Associate Professor of Art History Linda Docherty has all the answers, and then some.

"What Passing Voices Echo: Sites of History and Memory at Bowdoin College," is the result of a semester-long research project devoted to uncovering the significance and history behind various memorials and monuments at the College.

Each student in the seminar focused on a particular site of memory, conducting intensive primary source research in the College archives.

"We got to spend a lot of time in Special Collections going through old yearbooks, scrapbooks, newspaper clippings and photographs, most of which were over 100 years old," said Margie Cooper '10.

"It's been incredible to work so closely with objects on our own campus and to rediscover the depth of history we are surrounded by every day," added Charlotte Williams '10.

The book tells the stories behind Memorial Hall, the Jewett Memorial Window, the Theophilus Wheeler Walker Portrait Bust, the Hubbard Hall Presidential Portrait Gallery, the Polar Bear statue, the John Brown Russwurm African American Center, the World War I flagpole, the World War II/Korea/Vietnam memorial, and the three campus memorial gateways.

Students worked closely with Docherty, as well as Curator of Visual Resources Jennifer Edwards to design the layout, text and form for the publication. Blurb, Inc., a custom print-on-demand publishing service, will publish the finished product.

The class will celebrate its accomplishment with a campus and community-wide book launch and gelato reception on Thursday, May 13 at 4:30 p.m. on the second floor of the Visual Arts Center. Copies of the book will be available for pre-purchase.

"In other classes, you hand in a research paper and you're done. What is exciting about our research is that it will carry on at Bowdoin," said Cooper.

-Compiled by Caitlin Beach.