Art history is the study of objects of art in their historical development and stylistic contexts, including genre, design, format and style. This includes the major arts of painting, sculpture and architecture as well as ceramics, furniture and other decorative objects.

Students will understand historical and contemporary currents in visual literacy in terms of art production and its analysis, including knowledge of studio practices, methodologies, theories and history. Graduates are prepared to enrich their communities by engaging in the visual arts on personal and professional levels.

Two tracks are offered in the Art History major.

  • Students interested in careers in museums or in the objectoriented approach to art history used by curators are encouraged to enroll in the Art History and Museum Studies major.
  • Students interested in careers focused on writing about art, such as producing art criticism, working in academia or working in publishing, are encouraged to enroll in the Art History and Cultural Criticism major.

There also is a minor in Art History.

Examples of Student Artwork

Latest News

Travis Nygard with book cover

Travis Nygard has chapter in newly published book

Associate Professor of Art Travis Nygard has a chapter in the new book A Companion to American Agricultural History, edited by Douglas Hurt and released […]

"Synchronicity" sculpture

A familiar outdoor sculpture at Ripon College has been given a facelift

The sculpture “Synchronicity,” by Ann and Kim Pahlas, is installed between Smith and East halls on the campus. It was created in 2000 as a […]

Rafael Francisco Salas

Rafael Francisco Salas to speak in Milwaukee Thursday

Rafael Francisco Salas, professor of art and chair of the Department of Art and Art History, will speak Thursday, April 21, for the spring Identity […]


Travis Nygard Portrait

Nygard, Travis

Associate Professor of Art History, Director of the Caestecker Art Gallery

[email protected]

Mollie Oblinger
Rafael Francisco Salas

Salas, Rafael Francisco

Professor of Art and Chair of Art Department

[email protected]


Ripon College faculty and professional staff are dedicated to helping you reach your goals, whatever they may be and however often they may change along the way. It’s part of our value statement to you.

As a student at Ripon, you will be assigned a faculty adviser based on your area(s) of interest. You will meet with your faculty adviser throughout your time as a student to discuss your current aspirations, plan your course schedule and plot a future trajectory. We also work collaboratively with Ripon College Career and Professional Development to help match your interests and skills to concrete goals and construct a plan for professional success offering personalized career counseling, off-campus learning opportunities and an online job board with potential to connect with local, national and international employers. Our collaboration with Student Support Services provides tutoring and additional academic and skill development, as well as tools to help with note-taking, exam preparation, goal-setting and time management. Likewise, Mentors in the Franzen Center provide in-depth, one-on-one or group mentoring for students about class projects and college-level writing, and can share problem-solving strategies to overcome academic obstacles.

Advising at Ripon

Off-Campus Study

Studying off-campus, whether internationally or domestically in the United States, is an experience bound to change your view of the world. In general, full-time students in good academic standing are eligible to apply for admission to off-campus programs.

Learn more about Off-Campus Study


Course requirements for a major in art history: Forty credits.ART 171, 172. Four 200- or 300-level art history courses chosen from ART 270, 273, 274, 276, 277, 278, 334, 335, 370, 374, 376, 377, 379, 383; CLA 250/350; HIS 214; or other courses as approved by the department.Studio courses are required, including one four-credit 2D course such as ART 120, 130 or 153, and one four-credit 3D course such as ART 180 or 190.ART 570 a four-credit capstone experience which involves a thesis paper and oral presentation.

An internship for two to four credits is recommended but not required. Note: if you choose to not do a four-credit internship, then to reach the 40-credit minimum for this major, at least one elective course in the arts is needed. Art history majors are strongly advised, though not required, to enroll in two full years of college-level language study if they are considering graduate school, and to participate in an off campus program in the arts during their junior year.

Requirements for a minor in art history: 20 credits, including ART 171 and 172, the rest a majority of art history courses.

Note on majoring and minoring: Students who opt to both major and minor within the department must have their program approved by the chair of the department.

Career Tracks

Students with a degree in art history can assume a critical standpoint and interact with the art world, whether producing visual art; preparing for further education, writing and research; working in arts institutions, art therapy or art education; or assuming a lifetime attitude of art appreciation.

Unique Opportunities

  • Field trips to major museums and cultural events are taken each semester, such as excursions to museums and galleries in Chicago, Milwaukee, Madison and Sheboygan.
  • Off-campus study of art is encouraged.
  • Caestecker Art Gallery, adjacent to the Department of Art and Art History, features shows by artists with national and international reputations.
  • Students have opportunities to exhibit their own work, help curate campus exhibits and participate in campus art projects such as a decorative tiled sink in a restroom and creating scale models of objects in the solar system for a Planet Walk on the Ceresco Prairie Conservancy.
  • Senior art history majors present their research projects as part of the Ripon College Senior Showcase and display research projects as part of the annual Senior Art Exhibit.
  • Through the Department of Educational Studies, certification in art education is available in early childhood/adolescence (birth through grade 12)


Permanent Collection

Items from the Ripon College permanent collection are exhibited across campus. You can view a few selections using the slideshow below. You also may view or download a guide to the Caestecker Sculpture Garden.

A Sampling of Artwork from our Permanent Collection

Caestecker Art Gallery

The Caestecker Art Gallery, adjacent to the Department of Art and Art History, features shows by artists with national and international reputations. Openings draw students and faculty from across campus. Learn more about the 2017-2018 Ripon College Fine Arts Season.

Tuesday - Friday: 1-5 p.m. & 7 - 9 p.m.
Saturday - Sunday: 2 to 6 p.m. and during evening performances

Rafael Francisco Salas
Gallery Director
[email protected]

Click to view the gallery floor plan.

Visit the Caestecker Art Gallery Facebook page.