Major Resource Kit

Art History

Studying the relationship between a culture and its art can reveal the important ideas, values and institutions of that culture and their effect upon individuals and society. Art History examines the development of this relationship across cultures and explores the elements of style and aesthetic ideas of particular cultures. The Department is committed to the broad coverage of the history of American and European painting, sculpture and architecture from antiquity to the present. At the same time its broad-based curriculum embraces expanding approaches and subject areas of Art History. The department's course offerings include areas of Latin American, African and Asian art as well as the study of visual culture, folk and outsider arts, and material culture. Art History holds a central position in Delaware's unique constellation of arts-related programs of study, which includes the majors in Art and Art Conservation and the Program in Material Culture Studies. Other crucial University partnerships include the Program in Early American Culture, University Gallery, Museum Studies Program, and Center for Historic Architecture and Design. In addition, the art history degree provides a broad humanistic education, stressing critical thinking and writing, aesthetic evaluation and cultural analysis.

In recent years increased public interest in, and support for, areas related to art history has led to considerable growth and expansion in the career paths available to those with expertise in the field. For example, the museum world is in the midst of the greatest vitality and public support it has ever known. Magnificent exhibitions are being mounted throughout the world, and large and small museums are playing an increasingly prominent role in the lives of communities. Art historians with advanced degrees are often at the center of this growing excitement, serving as senior administrators or curators. Professional and staff positions for students with a bachelor's degree are available in museum education, development, publicity, visual resource management, sales and rental galleries, and corporate art services.

State and local arts councils have become increasingly active advocates of educational programs and enrichment activities connected with the fine arts, photography, and architecture. In addition, the conservation of architecture and of historic sites has emerged as a widespread and influential public concern in recent years, and often it has been art historians, working either with public agencies or private businesses, which have spearheaded efforts to preserve our cultural heritage and to extend the public legacy of the arts. Commercial galleries and auction houses have also enjoyed much attention in recent years and art history graduates have also become actively involved in these concerns.

Approximately 20 percent of Delaware's art history majors attend graduate school in the field. Others go on to graduate school in such related areas as architecture, historic preservation, arts administration, American studies and museum training. Perhaps 50 percent find positions in art-related occupations with a bachelor of arts degree. The employment outlook for graduates is competitive, but jobs are available in art publishing, art journalism, libraries, public art councils and art galleries. There are some entry-level jobs in museum work, but most careers in this field require advanced degrees.

Professor Perry Chapman, 318 Old College, (302) 831-2243, pchapman@udel.edu, can provide additional information on this major.

Sample Job Titles

Bachelor's Degree/Entry Level
Further Education/Experience Often Required

Check the Dictionary of Occupational Titles under section 052 for additional related careers.

Enhancing Employability

Some Employers of Art History Majors

Other Sources of Information

Candid Careers

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