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Penn State College of Arts and Architecture
Penn State College of Arts and Architecture
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Historical + interpretive studies


A Humanities Major in the Arts

Students can major or minor in art history, pursue a minor in architectural history, or work toward earning 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 American, African American, and contemporary art.


Advanced studies with renowned scholars

Our M.A. and Ph.D. programs provide candidates with the opportunity to pursue advanced study directly with renowned scholars. The department’s faculty are internationally recognized scholars and critics known for their dedication to their students.


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Contact + Connect



Research

Virtual/Material: Color/Pigment Graduate Workshop

Funded by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, this workshop will offer an integrated curriculum of Technical and Digital Art History via the special case history of color. Through a combination of seminars, demonstrations, and hands-on labs led by a distinguished faculty of scientists and historians, participants can expect to leave the workshop better equipped to understand historical colorants and their production as well as the ways in which digital cultures can distort or ameliorate historians’ approach to such colorants.

Art History awarded Mellon Foundation grant to develop and host Sawyer Seminar

The College of Arts and Architecture’s Department of Art History in collaboration with the College of Liberal Arts has been awarded $225,000 by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support a Sawyer Seminar entitled “Transmission, Containment, Transformation: A Comparative Approach to Architecture and Contagion in Early Modern Cities.”

blue color crushed pigment

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.

News from A&A

Mansfield chairs ASECS session

Elizabeth Mansfield will chair the session Do-Overs: Repetition and Revision in the Long Eighteenth Century at the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (ASECS) annual conference, taking place virtually, Saturday, April


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Solari presents at Humanities Institute

Amara Solari, Professor of Art History and Anthropology presents "Pigment Selection and Catholic Evangelization in the Yucatecan Mayalands, 1540-1600" for the Society for the Study of Religion, Humanities Institute Thursday,


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Bruhn facilitates Sustainability Roundtables 

Heather McCune Bruhn will facilitate the upcoming Sustainability Roundtables "Paper from Invasives and Yard Waste"  discussing invasive plants problems and their effect on the native ecosystem. Register to hear some


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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.
See All Our Facilities
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) supports the faculty and students of the Department of Art History by fostering the use of new technologies and


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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

Alumni Spotlight

Cali Buckley

Ph.D. in Art History (+Dual Ph.D.) 2017

Cali Buckley is the Content Manager of Education and Intellectual Property at CAA in New York City. At her multifaceted job she coordinate grants, awards, and juries; affiliated societies; the RAAMP program (Resources for Academic Art Museum Professionals); and will be putting together new programs for education and professional development. She participates in Museums and Humanities Advocacy Days asking Congress to consider funding the Institute of Museum and Library Studies (IMLS), the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), and National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and Fulbright-Hays program.