About the Program


What is distinctive about studying art history at Sweet Briar?

  • Sweet Briar has an impressive collection of art in its three galleries and museum. Our historic campus designed by Ralph Adams Cram and archives bring our history to life.
  • Through this teaching collection, students have the opportunity to work directly with a wide variety of art and artifacts. Students regularly handle, view and research works as well as participate in curating exhibitions, such as seen below in the Valaria Tatera installation, Justice: Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and 2 Spirits.

Students working to install exhibition Installing Valeria Tatera exhibition, Fall 2022


  • Our size allows us to be nimble, thus enabling us to easily adapt to student and faculty interests, which is difficult in larger institutions. In addition to a wide variety of courses on art and architecture created by cultures around the world, we offer a number of Special Topics courses that vary from year to year. 
  • Students have the opportunity to work one-on-one with faculty to pursue their research interests and professional goals. They can carry out individualized research projects through an Independent Study course and/or our Honors Summer Research Program.
  • Additionally, students may also be asked by faculty to work as paid research assistants on their current academic projects. 
  • Our strong alumnae network, which includes many illustrious figures, also provides support, guidance, internships, and employment for students, as does our alumnae organization the Friends of Art.
  • Students benefit from Sweet Briar’s partnership with the neighboring Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, an internationally renowned artists’ colony for the visual, literary, and performing arts. Sweet Briar’s Friends of Art generously sponsors summer internships for the VCCA as well.
  • Students regularly travel to museums, galleries, monuments, and architectural sites in Richmond, Washington, D.C., New York, London, and Paris. Students also travel to the Kathmandu Valley in Nepal, Auvillar in the Dordogne of France, Athens, Greece, and other locations. These trips are a critical part of developing engaged global citizens. 

crowd of students in front of paintings at a museum Students at the Tate Gallery, London, in the study abroad class Nineteenth-Century European Art.