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A degree in art history prepares individuals with the knowledge and understanding necessary to evaluate, understand, relate, and analyze art throughout the various times in history. A student of art history will learn about the development of art from the earliest cave drawings to the modern day, and will study the various movements and styles that arose in between. The role of art in the course of culture and social history is important as it speaks to the feelings of a generation, and demonstrates what was accepted and what was considered taboo.
A graduate level degree is typically required to pursue a career specific to art history, though a bachelor's degree, like many other liberal arts degrees allows for careers in several fields and opens up several graduate possibilities.
A curriculum in art history may include:
- Ancient Art History
- Asian Art
- The Dimensions of Art
- History of Prints and Drawings
- Art Methodology
A career in art history is limited in terms of available jobs. Most individuals wishing to work in an art history related field will pursue a graduate degree and find work either teaching, at museums, art preservation, art appraisal or art galleries. Research positions for art historians are limited, though possible through universities or government grants. As a subfield of history, there are many similarities and shared skills, and much like history majors the higher level the degree the more the art historian will specialize in a particular period, era, or style.
A career in art history requires an excellent memory and analytical skill. An art historian must be able to identify and expand upon themes, styles, materials and mediums in order to evaluate and valuate pieces of art. Additionally, educators in the field must be able to expand on and relay historical fact, including accurate dates, major and minor movements, and the development of techniques. Individuals involved in conservation may work toward the acquisition or safety of historically relevant pieces, as well as their restoration.
Job growth for jobs in art history is expected to be as fast as average for all jobs. The average salary for careers in art history varies by position:
- Museum Curator - $48,500
- Museum Technician or Conservator - $37,000
- Federal Museum Curator - $75,000