Art History students at Penn State have the opportunity to take courses that cover a broad range of topics and time periods, including ancient to contemporary art and architecture from around the world. Students may also delve into museum studies, criticism, connoisseurship, research methods, and more. The department boasts the Visual Resources Centre, which manages a continuously growing digital collection of images of works of art, architecture, and other visual materials from prehistoric times to the present, representing cultures from across the globe. The VRC also has a traditional slide collection developed over many decades of teaching. In addition, the Lord/Hyslop Library, located in the department, has about 4,300 books that can be borrowed by Art History faculty and students, a photograph collection of about 9,000 images, and a collection of approximately 2,500 historic lantern slides, mostly of architectural images.
Throughout the academic year the department hosts lecturers as part of the Dickson Memorial Lecture Series, named after Harold E. Dickson, one of the founding professors of art history at Penn State. Students also have the Palmer Museum of Art at their fingertips, which has a growing permanent collection in Western, Asian, and contemporary art, with particularly strong holdings in American art.
Penn State's University Park campus is located within a half-day's drive of many major metropolitan areas, including New York City, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Washington, D.C. The campus is a premier cultural resource in the region--in addition to the Palmer Museum of Art, there are numerous theatre and music performances, presentations by international scholars, distinguished speakers at the top of their fields, and many other activities that make Penn State a top-choice school for students at both the undergraduate and graduate level.