What Can You Do with a Degree in Art History?
Art History combines knowledge of many fields, including history, economics, political science, architecture and gender studies. An undergraduate degree in Art History is excellent preparation for advanced study in other areas, providing a broad and integrated understanding of human culture.
A degree in Art History provides an excellent foundation for acquiring specialty graduate training in Art Education or History. At the college level, Art History is a fascinating collection of specializations and the career of a professor means research into your favorite historical periods and ideas as well as teaching at an advanced level.
A degree in Art History is crucial to a career in museums. There are many roles in museum and art foundation institutions, including education, curatorial, exhibition design, development and administration, publicity and marketing, and docent lecturing.
To work in the competitive field of commercial art galleries, it is key to have qualifications in Art History. Understanding the interpretation and historical context of artworks is central to a career in the fast-paced world of art marketing in galleries and international art fairs.
Businesses like Sotheby’s and Christie’s rely on trained Art Historians to provide the research and evaluation of the artworks they sell. Specialists in various periods and cultures help identify and assess the value of historical objects from jewelry to furniture to fine art. A degree in Art History is a requirement for this career.
Corporate Collection Consultant
Today, many large corporations own impressive collections of artwork, both for display and as a significant financial asset. The corporate art consultant is an expanding career field. Advising corporations on buying artworks for exhibition and investment is a specialized curatorial practice that demands advanced knowledge of Art History and a degree in the field.
Preservation and Conservation
A background in Art History is very important if you’re interested in pursuing art restoration. Museums, collectors and others require the services of art restorers to repair and preserve valuable historical objects. A degree in Art History provides the knowledge of artistic materials and techniques from the past that is critical to maintaining artworks for the future.
Art Libraries or Visual Resource Archives
The study of Art History is key to a career specialization in art archives and libraries. Today, these professions are based on skills such as working with electronic databases and digital reproductions in archive and imaging programs. Behind these technical systems, you must have a background in the history and culture of the artwork images and documents you organize.
An academic background in Art History is critical to this specialized field, which involves all issues of property law related to works of art, including image reproduction rights, exhibition rights, estate and inheritance, sales, authentication and repatriation.
Writing about art as a career for newspapers, magazines and art-world internet sites requires an academic background in Art History as a professional qualification.
Historical Design Consultant: Your knowledge of the artworks and material culture of historical periods can be used for a specialization in costume and scenery design for theater, film, television and advertising.
With visual communication becoming an increasingly important part of everyday life, federal and state governments are hiring art and design specialists for a wide variety of positions. Academic training in Art History is a very important qualification for these careers. These institutions include the National Endowment for the Arts, Historic Landmark sites and trusts, State Arts Councils and Offices of Cultural Affairs, among many others.
Non-Governmental Arts Organizations
A degree in Art History is necessary background for a career in the many NGO groups that support the visual arts, including Alliance for the Arts, Andy Warhol Foundation, Artist Trust, Creative Capital Foundation, and the New York Foundation for the Arts.
Even more career options that an Art History degree supports include work as an artist’s representative or agent, negotiating with galleries and collectors; as a collection consultant for private art patrons, from celebrities to independent investors; or as a promoter/events planner for the art-world social scene!
From the glamorous to the scholarly, Art History is a field of study that opens many doors. Art History offers the convergence of culture, beauty, and commerce that is both fascinating and practical.