ChooseWhy Choose This Program?

Why Study Art History at Goucher?

We live in a world saturated by images, which means that visual communication dominates many aspects of our daily lives (e.g. news, advertising, entertainment, social media, etc.). It is essential for today’s students to think critically about the many ways in which images across time and cultures have been – and still are – constructed to make meaning. Goucher’s visual and material culture program connects the history of images and artifacts with broader streams of inquiry into the visual world of the 21st century.

LearnWhat Will You Learn?

What Will You Learn?

Visual and Material Culture students at Goucher deepen their knowledge of the history of images across time and cultures, assess theoretical and methodological approaches to the study of images, and hone their analytical and communication skills. Visual culture, with its emphasis on the political, economic, scientific, and cultural contexts of images and artifacts, provides Goucher students a gateway to the study of cultural history, a critical eye, and an ability to integrate ideas—skills that complement their studies at Goucher and enrich their experiences beyond their undergraduate years. 

DoWhat Will You Do?

What Will You Do?

The study of Visual and Material Culture is not only inherently interdisciplinary, engaging streams of inquiry across the College, but also inherently hands-on.  Goucher’s VMC students work closely with exhibitions in Goucher’s Silber Art Gallery, with objects in Goucher’s Art and Artifact Collection, and with documents in Goucher’s Special Collections and Archives. Our students interact with museum professionals at the Baltimore Museum of Art and the Walters Art Gallery, as well as in Galleries and community events that contribute to Baltimore’s vibrant contemporary art scene. Students pursue internships in Baltimore and the Mid-Atlantic, and they complete special projects and independent studies that engage area collections. Many art history students concentrate in our Arts Administration Program, which prepares them for careers in museums, cultural institutions, and a variety of nonprofit organizations.

Course Curriculum


Major & Minor Program Contacts
Art History: April Oettinger

Full-Time & Half-Time Faculty

April Oettinger, Professor of Art History and Visual Culture

Study Abroad

Goucher’s Art History program, in collaboration with the Arts Administration Program, offers a three-week study-abroad course, "The Arts of Amsterdam: Arts Administration in Amsterdam." A course focused on global contemporary art and the Venice Biennale (based in Venice) is under development. Students may also elect to study art history at Goucher approved semester-long programs in a number of countries including Italy, France, Denmark, Scotland, and West Africa.

Visit the Office of International Studies for more information.

Opportunities & Internships


Internships help students explore possibilities, apply classroom learning, and gain experience. Explore internships and credit options.

Internships for college credit are possible through established relationships with area museums, arts organizations, artists, galleries, and design studios, as well as through professional relationships researched by the student. These provide students with hands-on experience and help them establish professional contacts. Certain courses are open to Goucher students at a consortium of institutions, including the Johns Hopkins University, Maryland Institute College of Art, and Towson University.

The Spencer Award

The Eleanor Spencer Award is granted each year to a rising sophomore who has declared a major in Visual and Material Culture or a minor in Studio Art. It funds outstanding research projects requiring travel to complete. Proposals are submitted to the department chair early in the spring semester and are reviewed by the department faculty.

Student Employment

Student employment connects students to both on and off-campus opportunities. The Career Education Office provides resources and support to students with or without Federal Work Study to find jobs, submit applications, and learn more about the job search process. Students have access to Goucher Recruit — an online site for job postings and job fair events.

Major & Career Exploration

Exploring career options, choosing a major, and making career decisions is a multi-step process in which all students are encouraged to engage early and often. Goucher students have a variety of resources available through the Majors and Career page to assist them in this process.

Job Search

A Goucher education prepares students for today’s job market and beyond. Students can explore job opportunities and access job search resources through the CEO Job Search page.

Graduate & Professional School

Students access resources for searching and applying to graduate and professional school through the CEO Graduate and Professional School page, through faculty and staff members, or utilizing their own resources, network and tools.

Alumni SpotlightChevron iconMadison Salvino '18

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Madison Salvino '18

“Studying abroad in Viterbo demanded that I look at myself honestly. I came to understand my strengths, weaknesses, and to further shape my ambitions.”

Read My Story