ChooseWhy Choose This Program?

Why Study Visual & Material Culture at Goucher?

This program is a 21st-century approach to art history and preservation. The curriculum expands upon these disciplines to include the examination and role of images, objects, architecture, and knowledge as not only reflections of history, but actors that made history. Billboards, Instagram, fashion, urban green spaces—they all tell a story. Our students learn what those stories are by investigating the meaning and purpose behind everything that people and societies create as ways to express emotion and thought.

LearnWhat Will You Learn?

What Will You Learn?

Hands-on learning in the field is essential to this program. Our program uses the Baltimore area as a “learning lab,” in which the built environment, museums, architectural landscape, urban green spaces, and monuments provide opportunities to experience the multi-faceted ways in which people understand, shape, and respond to the world through art and material culture. Additionally, students examine artifacts and rare books in our Special Collections and Archives and build focus exhibitions from our Art and Artifact Collection, which contains over 3,000 pieces.    Learn More

DoWhat Will You Do?

What Will You Do?

Local internship opportunities at Maryland Historical Society, Preservation Maryland, Maryland State Archives, Walters Art Museum, Maryland Art Place, and Baltimore Museum of Art prepare students for varied careers in the arts while challenging them to think about where they see themselves after graduation, whether that’s museum curation, artifact preservation, or the nonprofit art sector. Additional programs at Goucher—such as a concentration in arts administration or a certificate in secondary education—also help students find careers managing or teaching the arts.


Course Curriculum


Program Contact
April Oettinger

Full-Time & Half-Time Faculty
Gail Husch, Professor of Visual and Material Culture: 19th-Century European and American Painting and Sculpture, American Apocalyptic Imagery

April Oettinger, Associate Professor of Visual and Material Culture: 15th- and 16th-century Venetian Art, Italian Renaissance Art and Literature, History of the Book

Allyn Massey, Associate Professor, Art and Visual and Material Culture

Matthew McConville, Professor, Art and Visual and Material Culture

Laura Burns, Assistant Professor, Art and Visual and Material Culture: Photography, Contemporary Art, Curatorial Practices

Rick Delaney, Assistant Professor, Art and Visual and Material Culture: Digital Media, Printmaking

Pam Thompson, Professor, Art and Visual and Material Culture

Professor Emeritus or Emerita or Emeriti
Jeffrey Myers, Associate Professor of English: Shakespeare and the Visual Arts in the Renaissance

Arnold Sanders, Associate Professor of English: Medieval literature, expository writing, literary theory, archives

Affiliate Faculty
April Oettinger

Study Abroad

Goucher’s Visual Material & Culture 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 art history or 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 and at

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.