Arts Education

A degree in Art History provides an excellent foundation for acquiring specialty graduate training in Art Education or History. At the college level, Art History is a fascinating collection of specializations and the career of a professor means research into your favorite historical periods and ideas as well as teaching at an advanced level.

State Arts Agency Director/Staff Member

State arts agencies strive to increase public access to the arts and work to support and grow their state’s arts sector. Most states have a state arts agency, which draws funds from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) that was established by Congress in 1965. State arts agencies offer unique combinations of grants and services for artists, arts organizations, schools and community groups. These agencies require directors, art program liaisons, editors, and other staff, whose roles vary depending upon the particular agency’s initiatives.

Museum Curator

Gallery or museum curators research, plan, organize and manage exhibitions of art, antiques, fossils and other cultural artifacts in art galleries, museums and other places that celebrate cultural heritage. They acquire and care for the items in their organization’s collection, examine them to determine their condition, authenticity and value, arrange them for display in exhibitions and showings, and maintain records about their collections. They also liaise with historians, conservators and other experts about the best way to preserve and maintain the pieces in their care.

Museum Conservation

A background in Art History is very important if you’re interested in pursuing art restoration. Museums, collectors, and others require the services of art restorers to repair and preserve valuable historical objects. A degree in Art History provides the knowledge of artistic materials and techniques from the past that is critical to maintaining artworks for the future.

Art Crime Investigator

The FBI’s Art Theft program coordinates an Art Crime Team consisting of 14 special agents and three prosecuting attorneys. These roles require an inquisitive nature, an interest in research, a high level of physical fitness, and investigative skill. Art crime investigators can also expect significant job variety, travel, and excellent benefits.

Auction Houses

Businesses like Sotheby’s and Christie’s rely on trained Art Historians to provide the research and evaluation of the artworks they sell. Specialists in various periods and cultures help identify and assess the value of historical objects from jewelry to furniture to fine art. A degree in Art History is a requirement for this career.

Art Lawyer

Massive amounts of money, time, and talent flow through the art world, which gives rise to a multitude of legal disputes. Litigation can center around copyright concerns, contract disputes, fraud, and artists’ rights concerns. In addition to their art history master’s degree, art lawyers will need a Juris Doctor (JD) degree and expertise in contract law.

Art Journalist

Writing about art as a career for newspapers, magazines and art-world internet sites requires an academic background in Art History as a professional qualification. Art journalists write articles in which they interpret and analyze the meaning and quality of an artist’s work. This career is usually open only to those who have years of experience teaching art or art history or in working with museums and art galleries; some art critics may also have journalism experience.

Art Galleries

To work in the competitive field of commercial art galleries, it is key to have qualifications in Art History. Understanding the interpretation and historical context of artworks is central to a career in the fast-paced world of art marketing in galleries and international art fairs.

Art & Antique Dealer

Successful art dealers have the ability to cultivate a network of artists and simultaneously establish connections with collectors and museums who are interested in the work of their artists. The very best dealers develop reputations for anticipating swings in taste and value. Some seem to be able to create demand for an artist by simply agreeing to represent him or her. Most dealers specialize in a period, style, or type of art, such as eighteenth century painting, works of the New York School, or contemporary sculpture. All dealers must keep up with developments in the art world, particularly in their areas of specialty, so their careers depend upon maintaining a wide range of contacts among critics, curators, auction houses, artists, and collectors.

Art Economist

The purchase of fine art represents a unique combination of acquisition for personal enjoyment and investment for financial gain. This dynamic becomes even more pronounced during periods of economic downturn, such as the current recession. The recent emergence of publications like The Art Economist and firms specializing in analysis of the art economy displays the increasing level of interest in the study of the art market through a macroeconomic and microeconomic lens. An academic and practical study of the modern art economy represents an opportunity for art historians to apply research skills in a real-world setting.

Art Insurance Adjustor

An art insurance adjustor works for an insurance company to examine damage to an insured item, decide what work needs to be done to repair, clean, or restore it, and determine how much money the repair work will cost. Art insurance adjustors understand multiple artistic mediums, methods for cleaning, restoring, and otherwise repairing artwork, and must have the ability to creatively problem-solve for each unique case as it occurs. Adjustors may contract cleaning or restoration services, oversee the safe removal and transport of works, interact with artists and artwork owners, and may also work with police, emergency services, government personnel, or the FBI to remove and repair artwork damaged during major emergencies.

Careers beyond the Art World