The Art History program at Wheaton examines the artistic traditions of a wide range of periods and places. While our curriculum is particularly strong in the history of architecture, printmaking, painting, and sculpture, it also encompasses the history of photography, decorative arts, and museum studies. To develop and sharpen students' visual literacy we emphasize close, object-based study in Wheaton’s Permanent Collection and Gebbie Archives & Special Collections and in museum collections in Boston, Providence, and New York.
Specialized research in areas of the student's choice is strongly encouraged. Additionally, we benefit from a strong community devoted to the arts at Wheaton and beyond. Our Beard and Weil Galleries are a vital part of our curriculum and offer students an incredible opportunity to engage directly with curatorial experience and with contemporary artists recognized nationally and internationally.
Because our pedagogy is founded upon the intersection between art and social history, we encourage the practice of a politically responsible art history—one that weighs and interprets the stories that works of art tell about their cultures of origin, and one that considers the works' navigation of the contemporary world. Our program's emphasis on critical thinking and its strong commitment to interdisciplinary inquiry prepares students for a variety of professions, including architecture, museum and gallery work, conservation/preservation, graduate work in the history of art and architecture, as well as teaching, law, medicine and business.