About Our Department

The Department of Art History and Archaeology at Washington University in St. Louis offers a diverse program of study in art history, archaeology, and visual studies at the undergraduate and graduate level. We are home to some 60 majors and minors, and to over 20 graduate students working on AM and PhD degrees. We enjoy strong partnerships with other Humanities programs on campus, and with local arts institutions.  Housed within the distinguished School of Arts & Sciences, the Department is an active collaborator with schools across the Danforth campus, as well as with the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, the Pulitzer Arts Foundation, and the Saint Louis Art Museum.

The Department of Art History and Archaeology respectfully acknowledges that we are on the traditional, ancestral lands of the Osage Nation. The process of knowing and acknowledging the land we stand on is a way of honoring and expressing gratitude for the ancestral Osage people who were on this land before us. For more information about the Osage Nation, click here.  

The Department is also broadly committed to racial justice, and pledges to use our classrooms and curricula as tools to advance these efforts. To read the statement written and approved by our faculty, click here


"The Weil Dissertation Award did more than support two months of research in Italy: it facilitated opportunities and relationships that have been and will continue to be foundational to my development as a scholar for years to come."


―Lindsay Sheedy PhD Candidate and 2020-2021 Rome Prize Recipient
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Faculty Spotlight

Welcome to Claudia Swan, the inaugural Mark S. Weil Professor of Art History

Professor Swan (PhD Columbia University) has joined our department after teaching for eighteen years in the Department of Art History at Northwestern University.  She studies northern European visual culture 1400-1700, especially that of the Dutch Republic, and has special interests in art and science, the history of collecting, art historiography, the graphic arts, and the interdisciplinary study of the material history of art.

 Professor Elizabeth Childs, chair of the Department and Etta & Mark Steinberg Professor of Art History, writes: 

Professor Swan brings a remarkable array of interests both within the art histories of the early modern European world, and also in the connected arenas of science, global trade, politics, national identities, economics, and the vast field of the history of ideas of imagination. It is a great pleasure for us to welcome her to Washington University, and we all look forward to working with her here in St. Louis for years to come.

To learn more about Professor Swan, please visit her faculty bio.

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Emily Thompson Receives Nancy Rubin 'Above and Beyond' Award

The Department is thrilled to announce that Emily Thompson is the recipient of the 2021-2022 Nancy Rubin ‘Above and Beyond’ award. This award for graduate students was established in honor of Nancy Rubin, the Department’s longtime administrative assistant who passed away suddenly in 2020, and honors Nancy’s exceptional character, values, and ethos of generosity and compassion. Emily, a PhD candidate, was nominated by her peers for her exceptional contributions to their community. In the words of one nominator:

Emily always seems like sunshine in human form when bumping into her in the grad lounge. She is the best person to talk to when you have good news to share or bad—either way she is always there to cheer you on.

Please join us to congratulate Emily in receiving this special honor!  To learn more about Nancy, visit this tribute to her life and read a collection of memorial statements by students, staff, and faculty.  


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Our Alumni

We actively encourage multiple outcomes for our students of art history and archaeology, and alumni follow diverse career paths both in the United States and abroad. Our majors and minors pursue graduate and professional degrees in a variety of disciplines, ranging from art history, visual culture, and archaeology to advanced work in all aspects of the humanities. Many go on to curatorial and museum education work, collections management, the business of the art market, arts criticism, and diverse positions in arts management. Still others pursue advanced professional degrees in law, medicine, business, social work, and international affairs. Our doctoral program is the oldest in the midwest, and our network of alumni stretches internationally to Europe and Asia.

Learn more about our undergraduate alumni

Learn more about our graduate alumni 

Orin Zahra PhD Assistant Curator at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.