The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Experiential Goals

Experiential Goals of the Undergraduate Art History Major 

1. Engage in direct investigation of the object

Every art history course requires students to visit museums and historic structures to study works of art and architecture in person. Department faculty utilize campus and Five College collections as well as those of institutions further afield, especially in Boston, New England, and New York.  


2. Curate exhibitions in real-world settings
Students may develop research, curatorial, and other hands-on skills within the discipline by completing courses that include co-curating exhibitions as class assignments or creating virtual online exhibitions accessible to a global audience. They can also co-curate exhibitions at the department’s undergraduate curatorial lab space, Greenbaum Gallery. All majors have the opportunity to co-curate at least one exhibition in Greenbaum Gallery before graduation.


3. Develop and practice advanced research skills (in class, thesis project or IS, & as faculty research asst.)
Majors are expected to master a wide array of research skills involving when pertinent both printed and non-print documentation, use of primary documentary sources and archival materials, and in some cases oral interviews.


4. Develop and practice real-world communication
Majors will develop and practice real-world communication of the ways that historical visual culture shapes our broader understanding and perception of the world in the present and future. These include public talks, blog, webpage or online venue, or completing the department’s docent training and giving tours at the University Museum of Contemporary Art and other area institutions. 


5. Develop a command of the newest developments in digital techniques and resources
Students may develop this knowledge by working at the W.E.B. Du Bois Library’s Digital Scholarship Center and/or completing a practicum on “Digital Technology for the 21st Century” (currently being revised by Digital Scholarship Center director Brian Shelburne).


6. Explore career opportunities and gain career experience through completion of internships.
All majors are strongly encouraged to complete three art history-related internships before graduation. A three-credit faculty-supervised internship may be used to fulfill an elective course requirement for the major. Students are encouraged to intern at art museums, auction houses, commercial art galleries, artist studios, and at historic houses and other monument sites.


7. Develop and explore vocational interests by taking the one-credit “Careers For Art History Majors” practicum and/or attending “Success Stories: the World Beyond the Major,” an annual spring event featuring alumni and alumnae who have gone on to various careers in Art History or related fields.


8. Engage in collaborative work with peers.

These include: complete a team-based learning course, co-curate an exhibition for the department’s Greenbaum Gallery, and/or complete a major assignment in an upper-level art history course that requires collaboration with peers.


9. Study Abroad.
We encourage our majors to perfect their foreign language skills and explore other cultures firsthand through study abroad.