About the program
- Augustana College offers a major and minor in art history, with a curriculum that spans 20 millennia-from Paleolithic cave paintings to contemporary art-and multiple continents, including Asia and Africa. Students progress from a general survey of western art and gradually advance to more specialized study of specific artistic periods, topics and locales, such as Renaissance and Impressionism, the history of printmaking and the arts of Japan.
- Courses challenge students to evaluate and interpret works of art as historical documents. They are designed to cultivate critical thinking and develop students' written and oral presentation skills. To foster close contact with faculty and peers, classes are kept small, ranging from a maximum of 25 students for the art history survey to around five students for the senior seminar.
- The three full-time art history faculty members all hold the Ph.D. and are active in the field.
- The Augustana College Art Museum is a teaching collection covering all major art historical periods. Students study directly from these original works of art as an integral part of their art history curriculum.
- During senior year, Augustana students pursue Senior Inquiry and work one on one with a faculty advisor to research a specific topic of the student's choice or do a community service-related academic project. For art history majors, the Senior Inquiry project culminates in a capstone paper and public presentation.
- In addition to Senior Inquiry, art history students have the opportunity to present papers at the annual Celebration of Learning research symposium and participate in research associated with the Paul A. Anderson Chair in the Arts. This endowment supports student engagement with original works of art from the art history teaching collection towards publications, such as the 2006, 2007 and 2008 editions of Liberal Arts through the AGES, a primary text for Augustana's first-year liberal studies program.
- The Anderson Endowment also supports the Centre for Whistler Criticism at Augustana, which directly involves students in original primary research toward construction and publication of a comprehensive, interdisciplinary digital archive of the lifetime criticism of American expatriate artist, James McNeill Whistler, at Augustana College in collaboration with the University of Glasgow, Scotland.
- The art history facilities in Bergendoff Hall include a seminar, library and research room, a smart classroom, a visual resources center housing a collection of more than 50,000 slides and digital images, and an alumni garden.
|Art history takes a center stage at Augustana in its liberal studies text, Liberal Arts through the AGES. Its cover is this oil on canvas, attributed to Louis-Eugene Boudin, The Beach at Trouville (ca. 1864). (Related article)|
Outside the classroom
- Augustana art history majors and minors often participate in one of Augustana's many international programs, and visit places such as London, Berlin, Vienna, China, Japan and West Africa. In these "traveling classrooms," students study architecture, art and artifacts within their original locations across the world.
The Augustana College Art Museum and the Visual Resources Center provide work study opportunities for students to gain first-hand experience in museum operations and collections management.
- Through Augustana's highly successful internship program, students may apply for summer, term- or year-long internships at major museums and art organizations, most recently at the Figge Art Museum in Davenport, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.
- The art history department and the Augustana College Art Museum regularly host lectures by nationally and internationally renowned scholars. In addition, the museum's busy schedule of changing exhibitions exposes students to artists and artistic movements from a variety of places and time periods.
- All art history majors who have worked with their advisor through the application process have been successfully admitted to competitive graduate programs in art history. Majors also have utilized their rich background in art history toward law and medical school.
- Career opportunities include: college and university professors; museum and gallery directors and curators; museum educators; art conservators; arts advocacy agents; visual resources center directors; auction house directors and representatives; historic preservation advocates; art book and catalogue editors and publishers.
- The art history major provides students with a strong liberal arts degree that can apply to a variety of career settings. Graduates of the program develop: the ability to think critically; effective communication skills; acute historical insight and international perspective (in demand with employers in our global economy); and the capacity to analyze cultural creations within their respective contexts. Moreover, in today's increasingly visual environment, art historians have the advantage of being able to analyze and evaluate pictorial forms of communication.
What students say
Megan O'Connor '09, art history and psychology double-major: "In the art history department, a curious student can pursue work and research opportunities that are absolutely invaluable.... I have been able to work with and really get to know professors and staff, which has greatly enhanced my knowledge of the field and its real-world application. From helping to hang shows in the museum and being able
to interact with works of art, to assisting in research with primary documents in the Whistler project, the department gives its students many rare and wonderful options to further expand their understanding."
Emilie Malone '10, art history and sociology double-major: "The art history courses have given me a spectrum of knowledge and I am truly engaged in and outside of class. It has made me realize how beneficial a background in art history can be-this is an area that can be universally understood and appreciated. The art museum is a helpful tool in applying concepts learned in class. I also have been very pleased with my instructors, who teach the courses with enthusiasm and expertise. I feel that I will be prepared for a career in the field of art history upon graduation and have a true advantage from the insight I've accrued."
April Bernath '10, art history major, German minor: "As an assistant to the Augustana art museum director, I've been able to develop an understanding of the way a museum is run-from setting up exhibits to accessioning works of art into our museum's collection, to being able to handle and view priceless works of art."
Matt Bowman '11, art history major, Spanish minor: "The art history program rolls all the classes offered here into one giant metaphorical and digestible ‘egg roll.' This
‘egg roll' is packed with parts from all the fundamental curriculum a college student should have under his belt. When taking an art history class, you will learn about philosophy, history, astronomy, classics, sociology, and more. Art history applies to the studies of any student here on campus. I can't think of another field that has more to offer."