One of the greatest benefits of studying art history at the University of Minnesota is that our students live in the midst of an urban area that is rich in the arts. Their day-to-day real-world experience involves having access to innovative architecture, world class artworks, top notch museums and galleries, and a constant stream of internationally-known artists and scholars. This is a vital metropolitan area in which art is actively being made, collected, curated, and studied.
In addition, the department helps students to take their place in this creative milieu through a variety of initiatives including the facilitation of student internships, course credit for professional museum experience, scholarships to support study abroad, directed study, research opportunities with nationally and internationally recognized faculty scholars, and workshops, lectures, and roundtables on important issues in the arts.
Finally, students study real-world problems in the courses they take:
- How to understand art’s role in a democratic society.
- The complex forces at work in the global contemporary art market.
- How to preserve world heritage and antiquities, which are currently under threat in zones of conflict around the world.
- The rise of identity politics in relation to the collecting, display, and interpretation of works of art.
- How art is integral to displays of power and central to the expansion of empires and colonies.
- The ethical issues that arise in arts controversies and acts of censorship by governments, institutions, and corporations.
- How to understand the historical roots of contemporary religious and political clashes through the examination of art.
- How to make sense of an increasingly visual and propagandistic world through training in visual literacy.
- Why art matters today.