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A group of graduate student study a collection of paintings hanging in a museum.



Graduate students in Professor Wendy Bellion's "American Art to 1900" course visit the New-York Historical Society during the fall 2019 semester. (Photograph courtesy of Wendy Bellion)

We offer programs leading to the degrees of Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy, which provide comprehensive studies in the history of art from ancient to modern times, with special concentrations in art of the Americas and in European art from the Renaissance through the modern eras. Arrangements with various institutions inside and outside the University enable students to work, under faculty and museum staff supervision, with original objects and documents, and to arrange exhibitions on a variety of subjects.

The University Museums, located on campus, have a collection of about 6,000 objects for teaching and research and provide opportunities for organization of exhibitions. The University Museums' holdings include the Paul R. Jones Collection of African American Art, the Frederick and Lucy S. Herman Native American Art Collection, and the Mabel and Harley McKeague Alaskan Inuit Collection. Their collections of Gertrude Käsebier photographs and Abraham Walkowitz paintings and drawings are the largest in existence. There is also a collection of books and ephemera on Italian Futurism. The Mark Samuels Lasner Collection in the University Library is especially rich in Victorian materials, including many illustrated books. Periodically, art history graduate seminars have contributed to the research for, and organization of, exhibitions at such museums as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Delaware Art Museum, and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, as well as the University Museums.

The Department of Art History enjoys a longstanding relationship with UD's Center for Material Culture Studies, a dynamic collaboration of individuals, programs and departments engaged in the documentation, interpretation and preservation of objects and images. The Center builds on UD's national reputation and extraordinary strengths in well-established academic, research and public service programs in the fields of material culture, historic preservation, museum studies, and historical archaeology. It also capitalizes on institutional partnerships with the Winterthur and Hagley museums, Historical Society of Delaware and Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs. Another university resource is the Center for Historic Architecture and Design (CHAD), a multidisciplinary research and public service group exploring the evolution of historic architecture, engineering and the built environment. Based in the College of Arts & Sciences, CHAD is cosponsored by the departments of Art History, History​, and Geography, the College of Engineering, the Museum Studies Program, and the Winterthur Program in American Material Culture. CHAD is the first American university center in this field recognized by the Department of the Interior. Graduate students in art history may pursue a graduate specialization both in architectural history and in historic preservation and may qualify for CHAD grants, internships and assistantships. The Winterthur Museum Library, open to graduate students in art history, is especially strong in American art and in Western European art and design, a special concentration in the Department of Art History. The nearby Delaware Art Museum, pre-eminent in its collection of pre-Raphaelite art and the art of illustration, includes a comprehensive collection of American paintings, sculpture, and prints from about 1800 to the present day, the Samuel and Mary R. Bancroft English Pre-Raphaelite Collection, the John Sloan Collection, the Howard Pyle Collection, and the N.C. Wyeth papers.

Cooperative arrangements with Bryn Mawr College and the University of Pennsylvania permit students to take courses at both institutions. The departmental Graduate Student Symposium allows students to work with faculty to polish and present their own scholarly work annually to the faculty, students, and the public. Graduate students also present papers at the annual Mid-Atlantic Symposium at the National Gallery of Art and the annual symposium organized by the Barnes Foundation. With faculty advice, they run an annual Lecture Series featuring well-known art historians and museum curators. They also have the opportunity to collaborate with faculty in planning symposia that bring distinguished speakers to campus. ​​

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