A liberal arts degree, in general, reflects a comprehensive education emphasizing analytical skills, critical thinking and communication skills--abilities in high demand for all employers. Concentrating your studies in a major allows you also to gain specific transferable skills of interest to particular employers and industries.
Graduates with a major in Art History are attractive to employers because of their abilities in the following areas:
- Excellent skills in critical reading of written and visual texts
- Wide range of cultural and historical knowledge
- Methodological diversity and theoretical sophistication
- Strong independent research skills
- Ability to think logically and analytically
- Ability to make critical observations and evaluations
- Capacity to form cogent arguments
- Creative thinking
- Advanced skills in writing and public speaking
- Careful attention to language, organization, and design
- Capacity to synthesize a large body of information
- Advanced visual analysis skills
- Advanced visual presentation skills
- Knowledge and experience handling historic art and artifacts
- Understanding of the importance of cultural heritage, ideas and values
- Dedication to historic preservation and education
- Sensitivity to cultural difference
- Awareness of complexities of understanding
- Openness to new ideas and perspectives
- Linking of traditional and innovative forms of knowledge
Position Titles Related to Art History:
- Advertising Designer/Executive
- Antiquarian Book Trader
- Antiques Dealer
- Architect/Architectural Historian
- Art Auction Professional
- Art/Architectural Conservator
- Art Investment Advisor
- Art Law Enforcement (FBI; INTERPOL)
- Art Transporter (Shipping, Handling, Storage)
- Art/Visual Culture Teacher
- Art/Visual Culture Historian
- Arts and Estate Appraiser
- Arts/Non-Profit Manager (Arts Organizations and Government Agencies)
- Art Therapist
- Commercial Photographer
- Documentary Filmmaker
- Freelance Writer
- Fundraiser/Estate Planner
- Gallery Owner/Manager
- Graphic Artist/Illustrator
- Historic Preservationist
- Interior Designer
- Lawyer (Art/Cultural Heritage, Intellectual Property, International Law)
- Librarian (Art/Visual Culture, Digital Collections, Archives)
- Museum Curator
- Museum Director
- Museum Educator
- Museum Exhibition Designer
- Museum Registrar
- Urban Planner
- Visual Resources Curator
Job Search Tips:
Corner Office, a feature by Adam Bryant appearing Fridays and Sundays in The New York Times, offers highlights from conversations about leadership and management with successful business leaders who are usually asked about their interviewing strategies and what they are looking for in new hires, especially college graduates. Lots of useful insights here for anyone looking for a job! http://projects.nytimes.com/
Professional associations or organizations can be a great way to meet, learn from and network with professionals in your field of interest. Inexpensive student memberships are often available, and most have LinkedIn groups, Twitter and/or Facebook pages that can be followed for free. Many also have web pages with career advice and services including job listings. These are only a sampling of relevant professional associations. Be sure to search for others that may be applicable or helpful.
The American Alliance of Museums
A student membership is $50. You can also connect with the group via Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. Museum jobs and internships of all sorts are posted on the AAM JobHQ site, and you can also post your resume there for potential employers to find. There are many other museum-career resources here too.
Art Libraries Society of North America
A student membership is $50. You can also connect with the group via Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. Also available is ARLIS-L, an e-mail list.
Association of Academic Museums and Galleries
A student membership is only $10. Jobs and internships are often posted on the members listserv, AAMG-L. You can also connect with the group via Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. See also the list of Museum Studies Programs in the US.
Career Alternatives for Art Historians
This useful resource, compiled by Charles Rosenberg, provides information about the educational requirements and employment experience that is needed by people wishing to obtain jobs in various capacities in the museum field.
College Art Association
This official site offers career advice and advertisements for jobs or internships in academia and museums. A student membership is $55. You can also connect with the group via Facebook or Twitter. Art-related jobs and internships in academic settings are posted in the Online Career Center, where you too can post your resume and take advantage of many other career-related and networking resources. Other opportunities, such as calls for conference papers, fellowships, and internships are regularly updated here.
Museum Employment Resources Center (MERC)
This venerable site offers job-seekers the ability to post a job announcement, place a resume online, investigate museums studies programs, and obtain information on cultural resources. The strength of this site, however, lies in being able to examine current employment listings. The positions are cited in a menu-style format and include Directorships of museums, Curator/Collections Management, Exhibit Design/Construction, Internships/Fellowships, and Museum Store/Retail.
Visual Resources Association
The Visual Resources Association is a multidisciplinary community of image management professionals working in primarily educational and cultural heritage environments. The site also includes a jobs list. A student membership is $40. You can also connect with the group via Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.
What Can I do with this Major?
An excellent list of the many different kinds of career opportunities pursued by Art History majors. Scroll down for links to job and internship postings.
Western Museums Association
For job postings in the museum profession, see their Job Board. A student membership is $35. You can also connect with the group via Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.
Also see the following sites:
- Art History Jobs
- American Institute of Graphic Arts
- American Art Therapy Association
- Global Museum
- Art Jobs
Ideas for Art-related Internships and Jobs:
- Portland Art Museum
- Portland Art Museum NW Film Center
- Oregon Arts Commission
- Willamette Heritage Center
- High Street Gallery
- Salem Arts Association
- Bush House Museum
- Disjecta Contemporary Art Center, Portland
- Regional Arts and Culture Council, Portland
- Portland Institute for Contemporary Art
- Art Therapy in Portland
- Portland Monthly
- Ditch Projects, Springfield, OR
- Zena Zezza Contemporary Art Project, Portland
- Yale Union Center for Contemporary Art, Portland
- Also check Internships.com for regional and national opportunities
- Most museums across the country have internship programs. Check their individual web pages for current information.
- See the RACC site above for an excellent list of current job, volunteer and internship opportunities in the arts in Oregon.
Ideas for graduate programs in Art History and Archaeology:
- National Research Council rankings of graduate programs in Art History and Archaeology; also see this link
- M.A. programs in Art History and Archaeology outside the U.S.
- Graduate programs in Classical/Mediterranean Archaeology and/or a related field
- The College Art Association graduate school in Art History directory
Undergraduate Art History publishing opportunities:
- Dimensions Art Journal
- Valley Humanities Review
- History Matters: An Undergraduate Journal of Historical Research
- Aporia: Dartmouth’s Undergraduate Journal of Philosophy
- The Columbia Undergraduate Journal of History
http://cujh.columbia.edu/ (nomination required)
- Girls Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal for Undergraduate Research
Undergraduate Art History conference opportunities:
- Undergraduate Art History Conference at Baker University
- Annual Undergraduate Symposium (UMass & Dartmouth)
- Southern California Conferences for Undergraduate Research
- Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association Annual Conference
- Midwest Art History Society Annual Conference
- National Conferences on Undergraduate Research