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Penn State College of Arts and Architecture
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Programs as broad as history

The Department of Art History offers B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees, as well as minors in art history and architectural history and a museum studies certificate. Students have the opportunity to hold internships or assistantships at Penn State’s Palmer Museum of Art, known particularly for its strong holdings in Baroque, American, and contemporary art. The department’s faculty are internationally recognized scholars known for sharing and instilling their enthusiasm for the discipline with their students.


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Degrees +
Certificates

Student participating in the Borland Project Space

B.A. in Art History

The B.A. in Art History offers an opportunity for students to explore and examine art while developing a deep understanding of how and why it brings the world closer.
Art History graduate investigating an artifact from the African Brilliance exhibition.

M.A. in Art History

The M.A. degree in Art History transforms a passion for the arts and cultural history into a career path. Through the completion of a master’s paper or thesis, foreign language...
Palmer Museum painting analysis by Maggie Davis.

Ph.D. in Art History (+Dual Ph.D.)

Advanced study of visual arts spanning periods, cultures, and geographies. The Art History Ph.D. program – with Asian Studies or Visual Studies dual-title options – can deepen your expertise and advance your Art History career.
A 20th century decorated wooden box called a Tukula container produced by Kuba carvers from the Democratic Rebublic of the Congo.

Art History Minor

Explore art from ancient to contemporary times, in Europe, the Americas, Asia, Africa, and Oceania. This minor relates visual images to the big questions of humanity.
Students sitting at the ruins of Paestum, sketching the architecture.

Architectural History Minor

The Architectural History minor teaches exceptional visual acuity and analysis. You will better understand space, design processes, and construction practice within historical periods.
A public collection of late artwork displayed at the Palmer Museum of Art. A student explains the meaning of the piece to visitors.

Museum Studies Certificate

Learn the fundamentals of museum studies. Explore the history, theory, and practice of institutional collecting and conservation. Engage in a technical investigation of art.

Faculty Spotlight

Fragile religious mural painted by Christianized Maya artists in Yucatán, Mexico
Fragile religious mural painted by Christianized Maya artists in Yucatán, Mexico

Amara Solari

Associate Professor of Art History

Amara Solari teaches courses in Latin American art from the pre-Columbian through the colonial period. Her research focuses on processes of cultural, visual, and theological interchange between indigenous groups and Spanish settlers of New Spain. She recently received a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities in support of her research project, “Maya Christian Murals of Yucatán: Indigenous Catholicism in Early Modern New Spain,” which focuses on fragile religious murals painted by Christianized Maya artists in Yucatán, Mexico, between 1550 and 1750.

Amara Solari

Our Facilities

Our broad program offerings are supported by rich research, archive, and display spaces.
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Art History graduate student digitally investigating color on a painting.
Art History graduate student digitally investigating color on a painting.

Visual Resources Centre

The Visual Resources Centre (VRC) manages a continuously growing digital collection of images of works of art, architecture, and other visual materials from prehistoric


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Art History graduate student digitally investigating color on a painting.

Palmer Museum of Art

The Palmer Museum of Art, a dramatic structure designed by Charles W. Moore, is the most prominent visual arts facility on the University Park


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Art History graduate student digitally investigating color on a painting.

Borland Project Space

The Borland Project Space (BPS) illuminates the vibrant research culture of the College of Arts & Architecture. With this initiative we move beyond traditional


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Alumni Spotlight

Penn State Art History alumna Kimberly Henrikson

Alumni Spotlight

Kimberly Henrikson

B.A. in Art History

Kimberly Henrikson is executive director at the Center for Contemporary Printmaking (Norwalk, CT) and president of the Print Club of New York. She is newsletter editor for the International Print Club Societies organization, and held a senior position at Artstor, where she managed training and support services for digital image licensing in higher ed and museum communities around the world.

Collage of art prints in galleries and museums.
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Aug 7

Virtual Mus. Theatre Voice Ped Workshop

Music Academic Calendar
The Penn State Musical Theatre Voice Pedagogy Workshop 2020 has been moved to online. It will be held August 7 & 8, 2020 and prices

Events

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Virtual Mus. Theatre Voice Ped Work

Music Academic Calendar
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Aug 8

The Penn State Musical Theatre Voice Pedagogy Workshop 2020 has been moved to online. It will be held August 7 & 8, 2020 and prices


SOM - Bach's Lunch

CSED All Faith Chapel
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Sep 3

Voice Jury Honors Voice students with superlative performances at their end-of-semester performance final sing a program of best songs and arias. "Bach's Lunch" is a


SOM - Bach's Lunch

CSED All Faith Chapel
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Sep 10

Sophomore Showcase Sophomore voice performance majors sing a showcase of songs and arias as a precursor to entrance to upper level study. "Bach's Lunch" is


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News from A&A

Photo of a square mixed-media painting created with vibrant colors depicting several randomly placed portraits with country flags covering each subject's face. The background of the artwork is geometric shapes in various colors.

SOVA alumna’s artwork featured in virtual exhibition responding to pandemic

Penn State School of Visual Arts alumna and Southwest Philadelphia artist D’nae Harrison, 2014 bachelor of fine arts, has been named as a winner of the 2020 MOZAIK Future Art Award

Black and white collage of family portraits taken on each family's front porch during the shelter-in-place orders.

Creativity and the coronavirus: Interns make the most of challenging situation

Students in the College of Arts and Architecture internship program adjusted their work in creative ways during the challenging spring semester.

Recreation of a famous medieval portrait displayed side-by-side, images are each a close-up of a man with a black backdrop wearing a scarlet turban, the recreation has the man in a COVID-19 mask

Recreating masterpieces with a COVID-19 theme

As the spring 2020 semester was winding down, art history faculty member, Heather McCune Bruhn, challenged her students to recreate famous works of art with a COVID-19 theme.