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Art History

Art history graduate Stephanie Loria 11, left, is research associate at ArtBanc International in London. Matt Bowman, right, also Class of 2011, was an Academic All-American at Augustana. He's now a graduate student at the University of Connecticut working on his master's degree in art history. He plans on continuing his education to eventually earn his Ph.D.

  • Careers/internships
  • About the program
  • What students say

All art history majors who have worked with an 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.

Careers include teaching on the college level; directing or curating at a museum or gallery; or working in museum education, art conservation, arts advocacy, visual resources centers, auction houses, historic preservation and art book and catalogue publishing.

The Augustana Teaching Museum of Art 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 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, DC.

Recent grads:

Julie Napientek '13 is an English language teacher at a university in China and plans to attenc graduate school in art history in future.

Stephanie Loria '11 obtained a master's degree in art business at Sotheby's in London, and now works for ArtBanc International.

April Bernath '10 is a paraprofessional with Durand, Ill., schools. She uses Visual Thinking Strategies in tutoring sessions.

Matt Lewis '09 is digital designer at Sears Holdings Corporation in Chicago.

Augustana offers a major and minor in art history with a curriculum that moves from Paleolithic cave paintings to contemporary art on multiple continents. Students progress from a general survey of Western art and advance to more specialized study.

Courses challenge students to evaluate and interpret works of art as historical documents. 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 for the senior seminar.

The Augustana College Teaching Museum of Art is a teaching collection covering all major art historical periods. Students study directly from these original works.

Augustana students pursue Senior Inquiry and work with a faculty advisor to research a topic or do a community service-related academic project. For art history majors, this culminates in a capstone paper and public presentation.

Art history students also may present papers at the annual Celebration of Learning research symposium and participate in research associated with the Paul A. Anderson Chair in the Arts.

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."

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.”

Art history video: Rethinking Whistler's Peacock Room

Dr. Lee Glazer, associate curator of American Art, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, delivers a lecture entitled, "Heirloom of the Artist: Rethinking Whistler's Peacock Room."

Video: Dr. Mary Kirn on the challenge of judging art

Dr. Mary Em Kirn, Augustana professor emerita of art history and past president of the Rock Island Art Guild, delivers "Looking Isn't As Easy As It Looks." Her remarks focus on the challenges of acting as a juror in a competition involving contemporary regional works of art.
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