Art History

Art history professor Anthony Lee teaching a class in the Art Museum.

Art history is an interdisciplinary field that explores the cultural, political, and social meanings of objects and images. Students learn to think, talk, and write about art and architecture—and to do so with historical knowledge and critical sophistication. They acquire a highly versatile set of skills, well suited to any number of vocations in the arts and beyond. Our alumnae have gone on to distinguished careers in academia, galleries, and museums, as well as education, law, business, and non-profit organizations.

At Mount Holyoke, art history students are taught by active and accomplished scholars whose specialties include ancient art, Renaissance and Baroque art and architecture, medieval and Islamic art, modern and contemporary art and film, North American and South Asian art. Professors work closely with students not only in the classroom, but also individually by supervising honors theses and independent studies. The department offers competitive grants to help fund research projects.

Students are encouraged to take an interdisciplinary approach to their major and to pursue practical experience through internships. Many of our majors take advantage of study-abroad opportunities that take them to Italy, France, Denmark, England, Scotland, ireland, Australia and China.

The art history department is housed in the art building along with architectural studies, film studies, and studio art. The building also houses the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum, a first-rate cultural resource that serves as an auxiliary classroom for many courses. Mount Holyoke’s campus is equidistant from the renowned museums of New York and Boston—an ideal jumping off point for students to visit these collections with classes and on their own, by taking advantage of frequent bus trips right to their front doors.

The art history program, established in 1892, is one of the oldest and most distinguished in the nation. And today it is one of the most innovative and vibrant.