Entry-level Art History - Art and Art History Department

Entry-level Art History
An introduction to building a career in
art history
Department of Art & Art History
University of Connecticut
Many exciting careers are available
for art historians
Gallery director
Museum curator
Museum educator
Research librarian
Museum registrar
Gallery manager
Arts administrator
Public programs director
Art history professor
High school teacher
Auction house specialist
Art appraiser
Art conservator
Dr. Peter D. Barberie is Curator of Photographs at the Philadelphia Art
Museum. He received his undergraduate degree in Art History from
UConn and his MA and PhD from Princeton University.
Educate yourself about the options
Strategic National Arts Alumni Project:
Career guide from the University of Texas:
Slightly dated but still very useful from Notre Dame:
Entry-level positions
• Entry-level positions in the arts are hard to find
and many require graduate education
• Our undergraduate students have found entrylevel positions at museums and galleries by being
the exception: hard-working, smart, skilled,
persistent, and professionally networked
• Take advantage of temporary opportunities –
Alumni insight: A recent graduate worked for a few months at
a gallery in NYC because a permanent employee was on leave
– this will lead to other opportunities
Use job-listing websites
specific to the arts
National listings:
Connecticut listings, Greater Hartford Arts Council (new, not
much there yet):
NYC listings:
For artists:
Internships and Volunteering
• Internships and volunteer opportunities help you
build experience and a professional network
• Stay in touch with the people you work with as a
volunteer or intern
• Sometimes you need another job to pay the bills
– Faculty insight: “When I was an undergraduate, I had
an unpaid summer internship at the Guggenheim
Museum in NYC, and worked as an administrative
assistant to a writer in the evenings and as a
restaurant hostess on the weekends to pay the bills.”
A UConn art history major interning at the Wadsworth Atheneum in
Hartford, the oldest art museum in the United States
It’s not all about the Metropolitan
Museum or MoMA
• Large, national museums offer wonderful
internship or volunteer opportunities, but smaller
museums and arts organizations can provide
excellent experience – many are short-staffed, so
interns and volunteers have many opportunities
to contribute
• Keep in mind history museums,
city/state/national arts councils, children’s
museums, foundations, and other organizations
where your art history experience is relevant
Develop a LinkedIn Profile
• Widely used by arts professionals at all levels
• You already have a professional network:
faculty, other students, internship supervisors,
work supervisors – connect with them on
• (and while you’re at it, remember to clean up
your public Facebook and Instagram)
Take Professional Development
• Some of these may be general, others may be
specific to the arts
• Look for opportunities at Career Services on
• Arts and community organizations off-campus
– E.g., Hartford Public Library offers a series of free
workshops on managing nonprofits
• You can list workshops on your résumé
Build Your Ancillary Skills, Knowledge,
and Experiences
Managing social media
Maintaining and developing website content
Database management
Grant writing
International travel and area studies (e.g., Asian Studies, Latin American Studies)
Some ancillary skills can be unexpected – e.g., if you’re interested in museum
education, experience working at a summer camp, daycare center, or nursing
home is relevant
Some ancillary skills and experiences are learned through workshops, others come
through coursework/Minors or on-the-job training
You should already be a good writer and researcher; well-informed about art
history, the arts, and culture; and able to use standard business software (Word,
PowerPoint, Excel, etc.)
Center for Career Development
An essential resource for all
students, located in the Wilbur
Cross Building
Résumé resources at the Center
• For detailed information about writing a résumé, pick
up a Résumé and Cover Letter Guide at the Center for
Career Development or download your own copy from
our student resources
• View examples of résumés »
• Visit the Center for Career Development for a résumé
– Undergraduate résumé critiques are provided on a walk-in
basis during the academic year. Walk-in hours are held
Monday through Friday, 10 am to 5 pm in the Wilbur Cross
Building, room 202. Call 860-486-3013 during breaks for
hours and information.
Career Fairs at UConn
• Arts organizations are typically not present, but
these can be informative events and you don’t
know what interesting options might be out there
unless you go
• Career Fairs are open to all UConn students and
• Dress to impress
• Attend a Navigating the Career Fair workshop
• Read Preparing for the Career Fair

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