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Art History and Museum Studies

Every picture tells a story. Every object has a history.

As a major in our Art History and Museum Studies program, the only of its kind housed in a museum, you will gain the academic and technical expertise required for looking at, handling, speaking, and writing about art, artifacts, and their vital role in human culture.

With the Polk Museum of Art as your home base, your degree in Art History and Museum Studies will take you around the globe and across millennia as you come to understand the aesthetic, cultural, political, and social significance of art, artifacts, architecture, and visual culture upon the history of our world. Delve into visual analysis, archaeology, anthropology, literary and art criticism, philosophy, and even science and the business of art, as you explore the inner workings of the museum world and experiment with research methods and conservation techniques.

Top Reasons

Expert Faculty

As an art history and museum studies student, you will have the unique opportunity to study — and work one-on-one — with a museum director and chief curator as your professor, advisor, and mentor, along with art and art history professors who excel in their knowledge of the field.

Study Abroad

Immerse yourself in art history and museum studies. Visit the hubs of the art world with faculty-led study abroad trips to Paris, Amsterdam, and Berlin and our Junior Journey trip to New York City.

Practical Experience

As an art history and museum studies student, you will have opportunities to help install and manage art exhibitions both at the college's Melvin & Burks Galleries and at the Polk Museum of Art at Florida Southern College alongside professionals and visiting artists.

Tailored Career Paths

Art History and Museum Studies’ multi-disciplinary nature allows you to pair it with other degree paths to meet your unique career goals. Pair art history and museum studies with a communication major or minor for a career in social media or film, or with business for a career in marketing or non-profit management.

Meet Our Mocs

Andrew Den Boggende
Rachel Dipofi
Sera Shaw

Polk Museum of Art At Florida Southern College

Housed inside the Polk Museum of Art at Florida Southern College, the Department of Art History and Museum Studies is a short walk from the main campus.

polk museum of art

The Polk Museum of Art offers semester-long and competitive paid summer internships, which enable students to collaborate with Museum professionals on exhibition research, managing Museum collections, and assisting with gallery tours, visitor services, and camps.

Students in the Art History and Museum Studies department are the focus of a program designed for them, centered on the history of art and their own immersion in the academic and professional applications of it.

H. Alexander Rich, Ph.D.

Featured Faculty

H. Alexander Rich

My primary goal as a professor of Art History and Museum Studies is to provide students with the tools they need to study art and the world of museums critically. In the classroom, I have three overarching objectives for my students: that they learn how to look at art, how to talk about art, and how to write about art. At the Museum, I strive to offer students the opportunity to work with objects firsthand and to gain transformative, pre-professional experiences that can set them on a path toward long-term careers in the field. More than anything else, by honing students' innate skills of observation and critical thinking, I want them to understand why the history of the artworks we study — along with the cultural spaces in which we exhibit, preserve, and learn from them — is as essential as the art itself.

Clubs And More

We’re home to Kappa Pi, the international art honor society, and the Art History Club.

Program Details




Admission Requirements


All freshman applicants to Florida Southern Colleges full-time degree programs must submit the following information:


Applying to Florida Southern as a transfer student is easy.

If transferring less than 24 credits, we also need your:

  • Official high school transcript
  • SAT and/or ACT scores

Learn More


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Scholarships Available

Art History and Museum Studies Scholarship

Applicants interested in receiving scholarship funding at Florida Southern may prepare and submit one sample of any of the following for review (minimum 2500 words):

  • An excellent example of art historical writing
  • An exhibition review
  • An essay on (1) what the arts mean to you, (2) why this program speaks to you and your interests, or (3) why museums matter

Submissions will be assessed for originality, creativity, clarity of writing, and individual voice.

Submit Portfolio

Program Contact

Office of Admissions Office of Admissions

France Admissions Center


H. Alexander Rich H. Alexander Rich, Ph.D.

Department Chair

Associate Professor

Executive Director & Chief Curator, Polk Museum of Art

George and Dorothy Forsythe Endowed Chair in Art History and Museum Studies

Polk Museum of Art

 863.688.7743 x234