ChooseWhy Choose This Program?

Why Study Visual & Material Culture at Goucher?

This program is a 21st-century approach to art history and preservation. The curriculum expands upon these disciplines to include the examination and role of images, objects, architecture, and the built environment not only as reflections of history, but actors that make history. Billboards, Instagram, fashion, urban green spaces—they all tell a story. Our students learn what those stories are by investigating the meaning and purpose behind everything that people and societies create as ways to express emotion and thought.

LearnWhat Will You Learn?

What Will You Learn?

Hands-on learning in the field is essential to this program. Our program uses the Baltimore area as a “learning lab,” in which the built environment, museums, architectural landscape, urban green spaces, and monuments provide opportunities to experience the multifaceted ways in which people understand, shape, and respond to the world through art and material culture. Additionally, students examine artifacts and rare books in our Special Collections and Archives and build focus exhibitions from our Art and Artifact Collection, which contains over 3,000 pieces.    Learn More

DoWhat Will You Do?

What Will You Do?

Local internship opportunities at the Maryland Historical Society, Preservation Maryland, Maryland State Archives, Walters Art Museum, Maryland Art Place, and Baltimore Museum of Art prepare students for varied careers in the arts while challenging them to think about where they see themselves after graduation, whether it's museum curation, artifact preservation, or the nonprofit art sector. Additional programs at Goucher—such as a concentration in arts management or a certificate in secondary education—also help students find careers managing or teaching the arts.



Program Contacts
April Oettinger, Department Chair, Professor of Visual and Material Culture: Early Modern Visual Culture, Venetian Art, History of the Book


Rick Delaney, Assistant Professor, Art and Visual and Material Culture: Digital Media, Printmaking

Tina Hirsch Sheller, Assistant Professor of Visual and Material Culture: Historic Preservation and Material Culture

Allyn Massey, Associate Professor: Sculpture and 3-D Thinking

Matthew McConville, Associate Professor: Painting

April Oettinger, Department Chair, Professor of Visual and Material Culture: Early Modern Visual Culture, Venetian Art, History of the Book

Arnold Sanders, Professor Emeritus: Literature and History of the Book

Affiliate Staff

Janna Dyk, Director of Exhibitions & Curator

Melissa Straw, Director of Conservation and Preservation

Kristen Welzenbach, Digital Initiatives Librarian

Study Abroad

Goucher’s Visual Material & Culture Program, in collaboration with the Arts Administration Program, offers a three-week study abroad course, The Arts of Amsterdam: Arts Administration in Amsterdam. A course focused on global contemporary art and the Venice Biennale (based in Venice) is under development. Students may also elect to study art history at Goucher-approved, semester-long programs in a number of countries and regions, including Italy, France, Denmark, Scotland, and West Africa.

Visit the Office of Global Education for more information.

Opportunities & Internships


Internships help students explore possibilities, apply classroom learning, and gain experience. Explore internships and credit options.

Internships for college credit are possible through established relationships with area museums, preservation organizations, libraries, cultural nonprofits, government agencies, artists, galleries, and design studios, as well as through professional relationships researched by the student. These provide students with hands-on experience and help them establish professional contacts. Goucher students may take courses through a consortium of institutions, including the Johns Hopkins University, Maryland Institute College of Art, and Towson University.

The Spencer Award

The Eleanor Spencer Award is granted each year to a rising sophomore who has declared a major in visual and material culture or a minor in studio art. It funds outstanding research projects requiring travel to complete. Proposals are submitted to the program chair early in the spring semester and are reviewed by the program faculty.


Student Employment

Student employment connects students to both on and off-campus opportunities. The Career Education Office provides resources and support to students with or without Federal Work Study to find jobs, submit applications, and learn more about the job search process. Students have access to Handshake — a website for job postings, events, resumes/cover letters, and career management.

Major & Career Exploration

Exploring career options, choosing a major, and making career decisions is a multi-step process in which all students are encouraged to engage early and often. Goucher students have a variety of resources available through the Majors and Career page to assist them in this process.

Job Search

A Goucher education prepares students for today’s job market and beyond. Students can explore job opportunities and access job search resources through the CEO Job Search page.

Graduate & Professional School

Students access resources for searching and applying to graduate and professional school through the CEO Graduate and Professional School page, through faculty and staff members, or utilizing their own resources, network and tools.

Johns Hopkins Carey Business School 4+1 BA/MS Program

Goucher College and Johns Hopkins Carey Business School are offering Goucher students a combined bachelor’s and master’s degree program. This 4+1 program combines a bachelor’s degree from Goucher with a master of science degree from Johns Hopkins in business analytics and risk management, information systems, health care management, finance, or marketing. Students can apply during their junior year. GRE or GMAT tests have been waived but applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.25 or better and have passed some quantitative reasoning courses with a grade of B or better.

Alumni SpotlightChevron iconAlex Ebstein ’07

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Alex Ebstein ’07

“Goucher was the place where I learned that your interests and goals can take you anywhere.”

Read my story