Academic Departments > Art History

Art History

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About Art History

Art historians explore how images, artifacts, and built environments express and shape cultural values. Our students study a wide range of works from ancient times to the present and from all over the world, including paintings, sculptures, buildings, films, and fashion. You will think about how these works are created and viewed, and ask what they tell us about social identities, political issues, religious beliefs, and more. And you will learn to look closely, write and speak persuasively, research deeply, and collaborate effectively. An Art History major is excellent preparation for many careers including museum work, business, law, and medicine.

Interesting Classes I Might Take

  • The Domestic Interior
  • Islamic Art
  • History of Modern Design
  • Ad/dressing the Body: European Fashion, Renaissance to the Present
  • Contemporary African Art
  • Asian Pop!
  • History of Photography

Full course list here

Note: The art history major can be combined in exciting ways with a second major or a minor in any area, from studio art to education studies to management and business. The arts administration minor is a great option for students interested in both art and business.

Beyond the Classroom

Internships, study abroad opportunities, and independent projects are a staple for art history majors. Recent examples include:

Recent internships: Four Winds Hospital (Saratoga Springs, N.Y.); Olana State Historic Site (Hudson, N.Y.); South Street Seaport Museum (NYC); Museum of Fine Arts (Boston, Mass.); Northern New Mexico Birth Center (Taos, N.M.); Belvedere Museum (Vienna, Austria); and Museo dell’Opera del Duomo (Florence, Italy).

Study abroad: Most majors spend at least one semester studying abroad; the most popular programs are Syracuse University (Florence, Italy); Skidmore in Paris (France); Trinity College (Rome, Italy); and SACI (Italy).

Recent honors projects: A number of majors complete honors projects. Recent examples: a study of imagery in a 14th-century Italian chapel; a technical examination and recreation of a painting by Vermeer; a syllabus for a college course on art law; and a plan for a weeklong high school introduction to Native American bead work.

Success After Skidmore

Some majors pursue careers in museums, galleries, auction houses, nonprofit arts organizations, or corporate art collections. Others enter the fields of art conservation, historic preservation, and art law. Still others work in the fashion or publishing industries, as art therapists, or as educators.

Careers: A sampler of what our alumni do

  • Assistant director, adult programs/museum education, Art Institute of Chicago
  • Project director, Museum of Science and Industry
  • Membership/outreach director, Saratoga Preservation Society
  • Assistant to the director, Pucker Gallery
  • Litigation attorney, Bochetto & Lentz PC
  • Owner/graphic designer, Whatdesign
  • Director of education, Sharon Arts Center
  • Antique dealer, James Morrison Antiques
  • Head animator/Vfx supervisor, Olive Jar Studios
  • President, Creativity Within Reason
  • Owner, SE Rich Architecture & Design
  • Cataloguer in Print Department, Sotheby's Auction House
  • Business strategist, American Museum of Natural History
  • Architect, Moshe Safdie & Associates
  • Art marketing strategist, MoMA
  • Corporate art specialist, Artworks
  • Creative arts therapist, Early Intervention Center
  • Director of admissions, Art Institute of Boston
  • Fashion photographer, Gallucci Studio Inc.
  • Filmmaker, National Gallery of Art
  • Grants manager, Juilliard School
  • Heritage education advisor, National Park Service
  • Painting restorer, National Gallery of Art
  • Project leader, Colgate-Palmolive

 Faculty

Meet the Art History faculty members.

Photo Credit: Kuba, Wrapper panel, textile, Raffia, pigment, 29 x 6 3/8 x 1/4 inches, This Kuba textile from the Democratic Republic of the Congo would be sewn together with other panels to make a larger wrapper. The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, New York,  Schenectady Museum & Suits-Bueche Planetarium. 2007.8.144