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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 + publications

Scholarly activity and publication are the lifeblood of Penn State Art History. Students, faculty, and staff are involved is a broad array of workshops and symposia, trans-disciplinary research efforts, and frequently author significant publications and presentations. We invite you to explore.


Visit the Research + Publications page



Featured Research

Virtual/Material: Color and 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. Visit the Color and Pigment Workshop Website


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.”


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

Zolli appointed Agnes Scollins Carey Early Career Professor

Dan Zolli is the third recipient of the College of Arts and Architecture’s Agnes Scollins Carey Memorial Early Career Professorship in the Arts.

Daniel Zolli, assistant professor of art history, has been appointed the third recipient of the College of Arts and Architecture’s Agnes Scollins Carey Memorial Early Career Professorship in the Arts.


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Global Asias Opening Reception

The opening reception for  Global Asias: Contemporary Asian and Asian American Art from the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family  Curated by  Chang Tan was held Friday, August


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Chang Tan Curates Global Asias Exhibit

The special exhibition Global Asias: Contemporary Asian and Asian American Art from the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation curated by Chang Tan, Assistant Professor of Art


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Promotional poster for the Students of Color Welcome Event.
Sep 30

Sawyer Seminar: Sacred Cities: Mobility and Transmission

Held on Zoom. Please register.
lecture by Rosalind O'Hanlon, "City of Possibilities:  Aspiration and Transgression in Mughal Banaras" Events – A Sawyer Seminar at Penn State | Fall 2021-Spring 2022

Events

Go. Explore.

Museum Conversation: Place to Place

https://psu.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_V3bK37saTo-z2XFOBlwfWQ
Place holder image for Events
Oct 7

Adam Thomas, Curator of American Art  Take a virtual jaunt through the gallery to “see” Place to Place: Recent Gifts of American Drawings and Watercolors, 1900–1950 and enjoy a guided discovery of recent


Committee for Early Modern Studies Book Talk

https://sites.psu.edu/cems
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Oct 8

Gábor Ágoston, Associate Professor of History, Georgetown University.Book talk – “The Last Muslim Conquest: The Ottoman Empire and Its Wars in Europe” (Cosponsored by Penn


Gallery Conversation - Global Asias: Jordan D. Schnitzer and Chang Tan

Palmer Museum of Art
Place holder image for Events
Oct 8

Don’t miss this rare opportunity to participate in a conversation with collector and philanthropist Jordan D. Schnitzer and Chang Tan, Assistant Professor of Art History and Asian Studies and guest


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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

Professor of Art History and Anthropology

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.

Center for Visual/Material Studies

The Center for Visual/Material Studies (CVMS) supports the faculty and students of the Department of Art History by fostering the use of new technologies


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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

Ryan-Jacobs-alumni

Alumni Spotlight

Ryan Jacobs

B.A. in Art History 2016

Ryan Jacobs is a College of Arts & Architecture Alumni that graduated in 2016 majoring in Art History with a double minor in Architectural History and Architecture Studies. Upon graduating Penn State he enrolled at Virginia Tech to attain a Master’s in Architecture. His thesis, “The Troupes of Theatre”, combined both of his passions for architecture and theatre. After finishing his graduate studies, returned to PA and works at PWWG Architects in downtown Pittsburgh.

 

 

Thesis: The Troupes of Theatre