History of Art and Architecture



We study the art, architecture, and visual culture of the global past and present to understand our world today and create better futures. We adopt a capacious definition of art that explores all human creativity, regardless of race, class, gender, sexuality, age, or ability. Our mission is to expand our field which has entrenched an elitist and exclusionary worldview. Our publicly oriented work extends beyond the walls of our department to collaborate with cultural institutions and diverse arts communities in and beyond Pittsburgh. Together, we train to become engaged producers and informed users of the visual, material, and architectural worlds that we inhabit. Our department is the launchpad for future creative cultural sector leaders, educators, architects, museum professionals, scholars, designers, communication and media specialists, community activists, storytellers, and careers yet to be imagined. 

The Department of History of Art and Architecture at the University of Pittsburgh explores the objects, spaces, and environments that shape our world. Based in the Frick Fine Arts Building, our graduate and undergraduate programs span art history, architectural studies, and museum studies. Our approach to research is rigorously grounded in historical evidence and in close engagement with actual objects of study.

We foster collaboration, cross-disciplinarity, and public outreach through our innovative Constellations framework and learning environments. The results of this approach have included impactful publications, digital humanities, and pedagogical projects, exhibitions, and other outcomes that equip our students with a broad array of skills and extend beyond our department to engage with broader academic and community publics. Read more about our department’s mission and commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.

University Art Gallery

The University Art Gallery (UAG) uses its collections, exhibition and public programming to interrogate the possibilities of museum practice, and provide a laboratory for Pitt students to reimagine the future of the field. Read more

Visual Media Workshop

This unique humanities lab is focused on the investigation of material and visual culture in an environment that encourages technological experimentation. The VMW facilitates collaborative research, and is a forum for exploring real-world challenges in a digital milieu. Read more

Frick Fine Arts Library

One of the leading libraries of its kind, the Frick Fine Arts Library holds over 90,000 volumes in art and architectural history in its rich on-site collections. The FFAL is part of the vast collections of the University Library System. Read more

Collecting Knowledge Pittsburgh

This network of local museums, galleries, and archives works together to share information and expertise. CKP works to foster collaboration in research, teaching, and public engagement through programs, exhibitions and digital initiatives. Read more


Our Constellations framework fosters a diverse range of collaborative research activities that extend beyond research specializations to engage large conceptual questions that cut across space and time. Read more

Friends of Frick Fine Arts

Donate to the Friends of the Frick Fine Arts to help graduate and undergraduate students undertake travel, meet with artists and scholars, and explore archives and collections that extend their research projects. Read more