Why Study Art History?

Art history encompasses the study of images, objects, and buildings from a broad range of historical periods and geographical regions, providing a doorway into many rich and diverse cultures throughout the world. It is about vision in the broadest sense, how people saw themselves in the past, and how we see ourselves in the present and future. Art history understands art as an instrument of power and recognizes its potential for influencing contemporary social issues.

By honing skills of careful observation, critical analysis, historical research, and written communication, a degree in art history provides students with tools to interpret the past in a wide variety of cultural contexts and teaches them how to be more critical participants within our media-saturated world. Through the close study of objects, art history cultivates a greater aesthetic awareness by considering questions of beauty, quality, and value across time and space.

The McMullen Museum and beyond

Art history courses make use of the rich collections of Boston College’s McMullen Museum of Art and numerous other cultural institutions across the city, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Institute of Contemporary Art, and Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, as well as the built environment of historic Boston.

McMullen Museum