Visual creativity spans eras and cultures. By studying key works of art and architecture—and the cultural context that shaped them—students learn to view perceptively and think critically. As its name suggests, the Department of Art History and Architectural Studies is home to two majors and its faculty bring a wide range of expertise to students.
Architectural Studies instructors guide students in the examination of the built environment in all its varied aspects. Majors receive a truly interdisciplinary education in a program conceived to explore the complex interaction of design, history, human cognition, economics and public policy. Courses are drawn from a dozen departments across the campus; students can also benefit from the academic resources of the nearby U.S. Coast Guard Academy. The major in Architectural Studies prepares students for graduate programs in architectural design and a wide range of related fields, including landscape architecture, historic preservation and urban planning.
Art History students work with specialists in epochs from Greek and Roman antiquity through Contemporary. The faculty include several experts in non-Western art, bringing a noteworthy depth and breadth to the study of art history. The department gives students the flexibility to create a program tailored to their interests and faculty support students as they delve deeply into the study of art and architecture.
Majors wishing to write an honors thesis work individually with faculty on independent research. Students have access to the College’s Chu-Griffis Asian Art Collection and Wetmore Print Collection. They also collaborate with curators and staff at the Lyman Allyn Art Museum, an independent institution closely affiliated with the College.
The department is outward-looking and encourages students to study abroad and gain cultural fluency in major art centers worldwide, including Rome, Florence, Copenhagen, Paris, Seville, Grenada, St. Petersburg and Beijing. Art history majors have gone on to positions in museums, galleries, auction houses and arts-related organizations. Some have pursued graduate degrees in preparation for a career in higher education.
Also housed within the Department of Art History and Architectural Studies is the Museum Studies Program. This is a certificate program that prepares students to work in museums and also in contexts as varied as cultural centers, auction houses and even zoos and botanical gardens.