Careers for Art History Majors


A lot of us who major in art history, do so to study what “we’re interested in”. What’s cooler than looking at thought provoking art works all day, weaving in a bit of philosophy or literature into our analysis, and feel as if we are effette intellectuals, destined for some cushy sort of refined, cultured existence after graduation? But have you actually thought about what you could do with an art history degree? It obviously lends itself towards working in the art world, and many majors end up pursuing such a path. Despite its initial low pay, many art professionals find fulfillment in being a part of an institution that that they love, or connected with an artist that they are proud to represent, among other endeavors. Yet having an art history degree does not neccessarily constrict you only towards working in the art world, proper. There are several other industries that you can get a foot in with the skills you develop as an art history major. Read on to discover the different careers you can pursue with an art history degree!

Art Galleries

If you live in a city with a thriving scene for young people, chances are there are more than a few cutting edge art galleries around. Hence, working for an art gallery with young, innovative artists is a great way to be around like minded creative people, who are constantly looking to for new ways to reinvision the world, and capture our experience of life today. If you are just breaking into this field, you will usually start out in an assistant role, such as an assistant to a director, a research assistant or a registrar. Over time, you can progress into bigger roles as a dealer for the gallery, or as a Gallery Director.

There is also a practical side to working at an art gallery which is far from its romantic, bohemian side. An art gallery is also a profit minded endeavor that requires poise, business skills, and attention towards logistics. The gallery functions first and foremost to sell art and you will most likely encounter some demanding, and eccentric personalities (your boss, the gallery’s clients) in order to serve the bottom line. Our advice is to seek out galleries that represent artists that you are passionate about, and want to see succeed. Having a purpose is key towards maintaining your sanity in a world that can also seem very much like The Devil Wears Prada at times.