Technical Art History
WVU recognizes the importance of studying the past to create a brighter future. That’s why we are the only University in the nation with a BA degree in Technical Art History.
Built for the curious and knowledge seekers, the technical art history major emphasizes the scientific study of structures of art and objects, within art historical contexts, and values hands-on experience. Students will conduct research on the physical nature of art and its making through interdisciplinary studies in art history, art, science, anthropology, and more depending on their areas of interest.
Technical art history majors will graduate well-equipped for a multi-faceted career of collaboration with conservators, scientists and museum professionals. They will enhance the world’s ability to care for its art and material culture.
Graduates will excel in high-demand careers and be prepared for elite graduate programs including: art and object conservation, ethnographic and archaeological materials conservation, historic preservation, art history, museum studies, art handler, museum technician, library and archival studies, and more.
In the classroom, technical art history majors will: assess the construction and condition of art and artifacts, conduct risk assessments for museum collections, employ preventive care for collections; conduct digital documentation with stereomicroscopy, ultraviolet illumination, and digital photography; scanning electron microscopy and forensic analytical techniques, and visit conservation laboratories. They will visually analyze objects, conduct comparative analyses, engage in archival research, and develop broad cultural historical and aesthetic knowledge.
The San Gemini Preservation Studies Global Positioning Studies program is the ideal hands-on study abroad program for a technical art history major. This program is a series of professional place-based field courses in conservation, preservation, and restoration of cultural heritage in San Gemini, Umbria, Italy. The program offers students both theoretical knowledge and hands-on skills on field projects and workshops.
ARHS 411: Introduction to Conservation Practices: Digital Documentation, Treatment, and Condition Assessment,
ARHS 412: Collections Care and Preservation of Material Objects
ARHS 413: Material Objects Investigations 1 (2-D)
ARHS 414: Material Objects Investigation 2 (3-D)
Please contact us to discuss how your specific credits can be applied.
Our program in the news
- "Going under the microscope," The Dominion Post, May 15, 2021 (Download PDF)
- WVU Technical Art History featured in IIC News in Conversation, page 7-8 (Download PDF)
- Technical Art History makes art a science
The Robert Lepper Mural Painting: a Hidden Gem in White Hall at West Virginia
The Research Repository @ WVU
- News in Conservation Magazine article by Éowyn Kerr-Di Carlo