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 the built environment not only as reflections of history, but actors that make 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.
April Oettinger, Professor of Visual and Material Culture: Early Modern Visual Culture, Venetian Art, History of the Book
Tina Hirsch Sheller, Assistant Professor of Visual and Material Culture: Historic Preservation 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
Allyn Massey, Associate Professor: Sculpture and 3-D Thinking
Matthew McConville, Associate Professor: Painting
Arnold Sanders, Professor Emeritus: Literature and History of the Book
Maria San Filippo, Assistant Professor of Communication and Media Studies: Film and Television Studies, Gender and Sexuality in Media, Feminist and Queer Theory
Tara Olivero, Curator Special Collections and Archives
Alex Ebstein '07, Director of Exhibitions & Curator
Melissa Straw, Director of Conservation and Preservation
Kristen Welzenbach, Digital Initiatives Librarian
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 for college credit are possible through established relationships with
area museums, preservation organizations, libraries, cultural nonprofits, government
agencies, 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. Goucher students may take courses through
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.
Major & Career Exploration
Graduate & Professional School
- February 13, 2019
Professor April Oettinger has been appointed a Visiting Senior Fellow at the National Gallery of Art's Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts.
- April 21, 2016
April Oettinger, an associate professor of art history in Goucher College's Art and Art History Department, has been named a recipient of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Summer Stipends award.