Unveiling the World of Art History Careers: A Journey of Discovery

A degree in art history provides a solid foundation for a variety of careers in the art world and beyond. Graduates with a strong understanding of art history are well-equipped to work as museum curators, art historians, art conservators, gallery directors, and art dealers. They may also find success as art critics, educators, or researchers.

The study of art history develops critical thinking, research, and communication skills that are essential for success in many fields. Art historians are able to analyze and interpret visual information, write and speak effectively, and work independently and as part of a team. They are also familiar with the history of art and the major movements and styles that have shaped it.

With its focus on visual literacy and critical thinking, an art history degree can open doors to a wide range of careers. Graduates with this degree are well-prepared for positions in arts administration, museum studies, education, journalism, law, and business.

What Jobs Can You Get With a Degree in Art History?

A degree in art history provides a versatile foundation for a range of careers in the art world and beyond. Graduates develop valuable skills in critical thinking, research, and communication, preparing them for diverse roles.

  • Museum curator
  • Art historian
  • Art conservator
  • Gallery director
  • Art dealer
  • Art critic
  • Educator
  • Researcher

These roles encompass various dimensions of the art world, from preserving and interpreting cultural heritage to shaping contemporary art discourse and fostering appreciation for art. Art historians may specialize in particular periods, regions, or mediums, bringing their expertise to diverse settings such as museums, galleries, auction houses, and research institutions.

Museum curator

Museum curators play a pivotal role in the art world, overseeing the development, preservation, and interpretation of museum collections. They are responsible for acquiring new artworks, organizing exhibitions, conducting research, and educating the public about art.

  • Collections management
    Museum curators are responsible for managing and preserving the museum’s collection of artworks. This includes cataloging, storing, and displaying the artworks, as well as ensuring their security and conservation.
  • Exhibition development
    Museum curators develop and organize exhibitions that showcase the museum’s collection and interpret its significance. This involves selecting artworks, writing labels, and designing the exhibition space.
  • Research
    Museum curators conduct research on the museum’s collection and on art history in general. This research informs their decisions about acquisitions, exhibitions, and educational programs.
  • Public education
    Museum curators develop and deliver educational programs that help the public to learn about and appreciate art. These programs may include lectures, tours, workshops, and online resources.

Museum curators with a degree in art history have a deep understanding of art history and the museum field. They are able to use their knowledge to develop and curate exhibitions that are informative and engaging, and to educate the public about the importance of art.

Art historian

Art historians play a crucial role in the art world, researching, interpreting, and writing about the history of art. They work in a variety of settings, including museums, galleries, universities, and research institutions. Their research helps to inform curatorial decisions, art criticism, and the public’s understanding of art.

Art historians typically hold a master’s or doctoral degree in art history. Their coursework includes the study of art history, theory, and criticism, as well as research methods. Art historians also typically have strong foreign language skills, as they often need to read primary source materials in other languages.

Art historians can work in a variety of different roles, including:

  • Museum curator: Museum curators are responsible for the care and interpretation of museum collections. They conduct research, develop and install exhibitions, and write labels and other educational materials.
  • Art historian: Art historians research and write about the history of art. They may specialize in a particular period, region, or medium.
  • Art critic: Art critics write reviews and essays about contemporary art. They may also work as curators or art historians.
  • Educator: Art historians teach at universities and colleges. They may also develop educational programs for museums and other institutions.
  • Researcher: Art historians may work as researchers at universities, museums, or other institutions. They may conduct research on a variety of topics, such as the history of a particular artist or movement, or the conservation of artworks.

Art historians play a vital role in the art world. Their research and writing helps to inform our understanding of art and its history, and they play a key role in preserving and interpreting our cultural heritage.

Art conservator

Art conservators play a vital role in preserving and protecting our cultural heritage. They work to stabilize and repair damaged artworks, and to prevent further deterioration. Art conservators use a variety of techniques to conserve artworks, including cleaning,ing, and re-lining. They also work withs and other institutions to develop and implement conservation plans.

Art conservators typically hold a master’s degree in art conservation. Their coursework includes the study of art history, conservation science, and conservation techniques. Art conservators also typically have strong skills in chemistry, physics, and biology.

Art conservators work in a variety of settings, including museums, galleries, libraries, and private collections. They may specialize in a particular type of artwork, such as paintings, sculptures, or textiles. Art conservators also work with a variety of materials, including wood, metal, stone, and paper.

The work of art conservators is essential for preserving our cultural heritage. They help to ensure that future generations can enjoy and learn from the works of art that have been created throughout history.

Gallery director

A gallery director oversees the operations of an art gallery, including exhibition planning, artist relations, and marketing. They work closely with curators to develop and implement exhibition schedules, and they may also be responsible for fundraising and managing the gallery’s budget.

  • Exhibition planning
    Gallery directors work with curators to develop and implement exhibition schedules. This involves selecting artists, planning the layout of the exhibition, and writing press releases and other promotional materials.
  • Artist relations
    Gallery directors maintain relationships with artists, both established and emerging. They may visit artists’ studios, attend art fairs, and negotiate contracts for exhibitions.
  • Marketing
    Gallery directors are responsible for marketing the gallery and its exhibitions to the public. This may involve developing advertising campaigns, creating social media content, and organizing events.
  • Fundraising
    Gallery directors may be responsible for fundraising to support the gallery’s operations. This may involve soliciting donations from individuals and organizations, and writing grant proposals.

Gallery directors with a degree in art history have a deep understanding of the art world and the role of galleries in it. They are able to use their knowledge to develop and implement successful exhibition programs, and to build relationships with artists and collectors.

Art dealer

Within the dynamic art market, art dealers play a pivotal role as intermediaries between artists and collectors. Graduates with a degree in art history are well-positioned to pursue careers in this field, as their knowledge and expertise provide a solid foundation for success.

  • Art Market Expertise
    Art dealers possess a deep understanding of the art market, including its trends, fluctuations, and key players. Their ability to navigate this complex landscape enables them to identify promising artists, source exceptional artworks, and negotiate favorable deals.
  • Artist Relationships
    Building and maintaining strong relationships with artists is crucial for art dealers. They work closely with artists to understand their creative vision, promote their work, and support their professional development.
  • Client Advisory
    Art dealers serve as trusted advisors to collectors, providing expert guidance on acquisitions, collection management, and art market trends. Their knowledge and experience empower them to tailor recommendations to each client’s unique preferences and investment goals.
  • Art Appraisal and Valuation
    Art dealers often possess specialized knowledge in art appraisal and valuation. They can assess the authenticity, condition, and value of artworks, providing valuable insights to collectors, insurance companies, and other stakeholders.

The multifaceted role of an art dealer aligns seamlessly with the skills and knowledge acquired through a degree in art history. Graduates are equipped with a comprehensive understanding of art movements, artistic techniques, and historical contexts, enabling them to navigate the art market with confidence and expertise.

Art Critic

Art critics play a vital role in the art world, providing critical analysis and commentary on contemporary art exhibitions, artists, and trends. Their writings can influence public opinion, shape artistic discourse, and contribute to the historical record of art. Individuals with a degree in art history are well-positioned to pursue careers as art critics, as their academic training provides them with a deep understanding of art history, theory, and criticism.

Art critics typically hold a master’s degree or doctorate in art history or a related field. Their coursework includes the study of art history, theory, and criticism, as well as research methods. Art critics also typically have strong writing and communication skills, as they need to be able to articulate theiropinionsclearly and persuasively.

Art critics work in a variety of settings, including newspapers, magazines, online publications, and museums. They may specialize in a particular type of art, such as painting, sculpture, or photography, or they may cover a broad range of artistic practices. Art critics may also work as curators, educators, or researchers.

The work of art critics is essential for the development and understanding of contemporary art. Their writings help to shape public opinion, inform artistic practice, and contribute to the historical record of art.


For individuals with a passion for art and a desire to share their knowledge, a degree in art history can open doors to a fulfilling career as an educator. Educators play a crucial role in shaping the minds and inspiring future generations, and those with a background in art history are uniquely equipped to bring the beauty and significance of art to life for their students.

  • Teaching at Educational Institutions

    Art history graduates are qualified to teach at various educational institutions, including schools, colleges, and universities. They develop and deliver lesson plans, lead discussions, and assess student learning, fostering a deep appreciation for art history and critical thinking skills.

  • Museum Education

    Museums provide a dynamic setting for art educators to engage visitors of all ages. They create and implement educational programs, lead guided tours, and develop interactive materials that make art accessible and meaningful to diverse audiences.

  • Community Outreach

    Educators with a degree in art history can also work in community outreach programs, bringing art education to underserved communities. They organize workshops, lectures, and exhibitions that promote art appreciation and foster creativity.

  • Private Tutoring and Workshops

    Some art history graduates choose to pursue self-employment as private tutors or workshop leaders. They offer personalized instruction, tailored to the specific interests and needs of their students, helping them develop their artistic knowledge and skills.

With their expertise in art history, educators can inspire students to see the world from new perspectives, cultivate their creativity, and develop a lifelong appreciation for the arts. Whether in traditional classrooms, museum galleries, or community settings, educators play a vital role in cultural heritage and fostering the next generation of art enthusiasts.


Within the realm of art history, researchers play a pivotal role in expanding our knowledge and understanding of the visual arts. They delve into diverse topics, exploring the historical, cultural, and aesthetic dimensions of art.

  • Academic Research

    Researchers in academia are engaged in original research, contributing to the advancement of art history as a discipline. They conduct in-depth investigations, analyze primary sources, and present their findings in scholarly publications and conferences.

  • Museum Research

    Museums provide a rich environment for researchers to explore and interpret art collections. They collaborate with curators to develop exhibitions, conduct provenance studies, and contribute to the museum’s educational programs.

  • Independent Research

    Independent researchers pursue their own research interests, often focusing on specific artists, periods, or themes. They may publish their findings in academic journals or self-publish their work.

  • Conservation Research

    Researchers in the field of conservation science utilize scientific methods to study and preserve artworks. They analyze materials, develop conservation techniques, and collaborate with conservators to ensure the longevity of cultural heritage.

The work of researchers is essential for expanding our knowledge of art history and preserving our cultural heritage. Their investigations provide insights into the creative process, artistic movements, and the social and historical contexts in which art is produced.

FAQs about Careers with an Art History Degree

Individuals considering pursuing an art history degree often have questions about the career paths available to them. Here are some frequently asked questions and their respective answers:

Question 1: What types of jobs can I get with an art history degree?

An art history degree opens doors to a diverse range of careers in the art world and beyond, including museum curator, art historian, art conservator, gallery director, art dealer, art critic, educator, and researcher.

Question 2: Is it difficult to find a job with an art history degree?

While the job market can be competitive, an art history degree provides a solid foundation for various career paths. With additional skills and experience, such as proficiency in art conservation techniques or knowledge of art law, graduates can increase their employability.

Question 3: What are the earning prospects for art history graduates?

Earnings vary depending on the career path and experience level. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, museum curators and art historians earn a median annual salary of around $60,000.

Question 4: Can I work in the art industry without an art history degree?

While an art history degree is not always a requirement, it provides a strong academic foundation and specialized knowledge that can be highly advantageous in the art industry.

Question 5: What skills are important for success in the art history field?

Analytical thinking, research skills, excellent communication abilities, and a passion for art are essential for thriving in art history-related careers.

Question 6: What are the career advancement opportunities for art history graduates?

With experience and additional qualifications, art history graduates can advance to leadership positions such as chief curator, director of an art museum, or professor.

In conclusion, an art history degree provides a versatile foundation for a variety of fulfilling careers. By leveraging their knowledge, skills, and passion for art, graduates can make significant contributions to the art world and beyond.

Transition to the next article section: Exploring the Exciting Career Paths for Art History Graduates

Tips for a Successful Career with an Art History Degree

Graduates with an art history degree embark on diverse career paths, and with careful planning and strategic choices, they can maximize their success. Here are some valuable tips to guide you:

Develop Specialized Skills: Enhance your art history knowledge with specialized skills such as art conservation, art appraisal, or digital art history. These skills increase your marketability and open doors to specialized roles.

Network and Build Connections: Attend art events, join professional organizations, and connect with individuals in the art field. Networking expands your professional circle and provides opportunities for collaboration and career growth.

Gain Practical Experience: Internships, volunteer work, and research projects provide hands-on experience and valuable insights into the art world. These experiences complement your academic knowledge and make you a more competitive candidate.

Stay Updated on Art Trends: The art world is constantly evolving, so staying informed about contemporary art, emerging artists, and market trends is crucial. Read art publications, visit museums, and engage with online art communities to stay abreast of the latest developments.

Cultivate Strong Communication Skills: Art historians need to effectively communicate their ideas, both verbally and in writing. Develop strong writing, presentation, and interpersonal skills to excel in roles that require clear and persuasive communication.

Explore Diverse Career Paths: While traditional art history roles exist, consider exploring non-traditional paths such as art law, art therapy, or arts administration. These fields leverage your art history knowledge in unique and rewarding ways.

Seek Mentorship and Guidance: Identify experienced professionals in the art field and seek their mentorship. Mentors provide valuable advice, support, and insights that can accelerate your career growth.

By implementing these tips, you can increase your competitiveness in the job market and embark on a fulfilling and successful career with an art history degree.

Transition to the article’s conclusion: Embracing the Opportunities for Art History Graduates


Throughout this exploration of “what jobs can you get with a degree in art history?”, we have illuminated the multifaceted career paths available to graduates in this field. From the preservation of cultural heritage as a museum curator to the critical analysis of contemporary art as an art critic, the opportunities are as diverse as the art forms they encompass.

An art history degree empowers graduates with a deep understanding of art’s historical, cultural, and aesthetic dimensions. This knowledge, coupled with essential skills such as research, communication, and critical thinking, makes them highly sought after in the art world and beyond. Whether pursuing traditional roles in museums, galleries, or academia, or venturing into non-traditional paths such as art law or arts administration, graduates are equipped to make meaningful contributions.

As the art world continues to evolve, so too will the career landscape for art history graduates. By embracing innovation, adapting to new technologies, and staying abreast of contemporary art trends, graduates can position themselves at the forefront of the industry. The future holds endless possibilities for those with a passion for art and a degree in art history.

Unveiling the World of Art History Careers: A Journey of Discovery