Graduates with a degree in art history leave college with a diploma and a fine tuned knowledge of the world of art seen through the prism of world history. Parents of the graduate with a degree in art history may shake their heads and shrug their shoulders wondering what possible career awaits their son or daughter. While the total number of positions available for art historians may be on the thin side, realistically it should be understood that the number of graduates with a degree in art history is not a staggering figure either. This means that graduates with a degree in art history can reasonably look ahead to career opportunities that will be culturally fulfilling and often well remunerated. .
Museum Work A major source of employment for graduates with a degree in art history are museums, places that function as open storerooms for historic and famous works of art. As students of art, graduates with a degree in art history usually spend considerable time in museums or with their heads in books about museums and their contents. This gives graduates with a degree in art history a feeling of comfort and ease when interviewing for a museum position.
Graduates with a degree in art history may apply for a variety of museum positions but most will begin with an entry level position and work their way upwards. Graduates with a degree in art history can work in a museum as tour directors providing expert commentary on works displayed. They may serve as intermediaries for the head curator of the museum trying to negotiate the exchange of art works with other museums. Some graduates may take charge of specific shows or exhibits being given in select galleries of the museum. Some graduates with a degree in art history may also look for careers that take them outside of the museum proper into the community where they can work to raise support to help the museum to expand its collection or improve its exhibition areas.
Graduates with a degree in art history could quickly list the top ten museums in the world or the five most famous art museums in the United States but they also know that there are literally thousands of smaller, less well known museums in the United States. All of them need curators and well trained staff members. While there are museum jobs available, they may not always turn up in your area. Relocation can become a problem for graduates with a degree in art history, especially if there is a strong desire to attach to a particular museum or geographic zone.
Author in Art History Having studied for four years and received a degree in art history, graduates may feel competent to posit their own theories or impressions of the world of art to which we are the very willing heirs. Graduates with a degree in art history who also have a talent for writing may find that art knowledge plus writing skill can equal some very satisfactory royalties. There is a market for books relating to art history and the many individual schools of artistic expression. Someone is writing those books and there is no reason why the writer shouldn’t be a person with real knowledge and experience in the subject area, like a graduate with a degree in art history.
Graduates with a degree in art history and an ability to write may also find a market for their work among the many professional and trade magazines which center on art, in magazines that explore the background of historic works of art or with metropolitan newspapers which regularly print art columns .Those graduates with a degree in art history who choose to enter the field of writing will find it to be a highly competitive field. Still for good writers who can add credibility to their work because they own a degree in art history the task of landing that writing assignment or position becomes monumentally easier.
As difficult as it may be to break into the world of art history writing, the rewards in terms of money and acclaim are worth the up front sacrifice and the stack of rejections with which most writers begin.
Art Consultant Graduates with a degree in art history will find that their knowledge is both unique and valuable and that people, governments and institutions are willing to pay for that knowledge. When government buildings are decorated, when wealthy people begin to think about the interior of their newest real estate acquisition, when a college builds a display hall for its donated art works, they all have need for advice about how to effectively use art to accomplish their goals.
Governments, institutions, private individuals all have the funds to reach out and hire a graduate with a degree in art history who will review the site and provide the artistic advice that will make their building work for them. Graduates who do this kind of consulting will find that the total number of customers is small but the average pay check is generous. In addition graduates with a degree in art history who do consulting have the opportunity to satisfy their love for art and to work with clients who share that appreciation.
Appraiser Some graduates with a degree in art history have the ambition to take their knowledge of art history and work to combine it with knowledge about the market value of art works to eventually become appraisers.. Developing this ability fully is not just a four year undergraduate task but is a skill that grows and develops with experience. Still a graduate with a degree in art history has a meaningful background from which to begin to pursue this career.
We see appraisers on television on the immensely popular series Antique Roadshow and most people are mystified by how art appraisers can look at a particular work and know by specific markings, colors used, textures achieved when and sometimes even by whom a work of art was produced. Graduates with a degree in art history might be able to achieve that much of the task. Assigning a correct market value to a piece of artwork is a bit more complicated and requires more study and lots of experience. Graduates with a degree in art history have the first big piece of the puzzle. If they wish to become appraisers they need to acquire as much experience as possible.
The reward for their hard work can be a lucrative career as an appraiser for an antique company working in a field they love.
Art Dealer Among the possible careers that are open to graduates with a degree in art history one that draws the attention of the more action oriented graduates is that of art dealer. Some picture themselves roaming about the world buying and selling historically relevant pieces of art for museums, private customers or their own art emporiums in New Orleans or New York . While the glitz may be a bit exaggerated in the dreams of graduates with a degree in art history, art dealers do have a unique career which requires good business skills and the knowledge acquired through earning a degree in art history.
The work of an art dealer may involve travel, high end sales, some risk taking and a lot of exposure to people who love and want to own great works of art. For those who can keep their heads on straight in the fast lane , a career as an art dealer can be rewarding and exhilarating.
Besides not all art dealers or art galleries deal in big ticket items. There are plenty of art galleries that do business with more moderately priced merchandise that can be enjoyable and less anxiety producing.
Graduates with a degree in art history know that art lasts forever. This would seem to mean that careers for graduates with a degree in art history should be around for quite a while too.