From its faculty and curriculum to its facilities and intellectual culture, the Williams Graduate Program in the History of Art is defined by its collaborative structure. The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute hosts the Program and is its principal collaborator, setting an intense course of study within a renowned art museum and research institute. Graduate students form an integral part of a stimulating international community incorporating academics, curators, students, artists, and conservators. The Program is physically located at the Clark, but also draws from the full breadth of Williams College academic resources. Students collaborate extensively with the Williams College Museum of Art (WCMA) and the Chapin Rare Book Library. The Program is also affiliated with the MASS MoCA, a multidisciplinary center for visual, performing, and media arts located in North Adams, a few minutes from Williamstown. The Program also collaborates with the Williamstown Art Conservation Center (WACC), located in the Stone Hill Center, a Tadao Ando-designed building on the grounds of the Clark.

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The Clark

The Clark Art Institute is both a major art museum and a leading center for research and higher education in the visual arts. Building upon the founders’ legacy, the Institute completed a significant expansion and renovation, including a wing designed by Tadao Ando, in 2014. The Institute’s director, curators, and research program staff teach in the Graduate Program on a regular basis.

The Manton Research Center houses the Clark’s Research and Academic Program, which hosts a fellowship program and organizes year-round scholarly activities, including lectures, conversations, colloquia, symposia, and conferences. The Manton building, which recently celebrated its 50th anniversary, also houses one of the largest art research libraries in North America, consisting of more than 295,000 volumes, 600 current periodical subscriptions, and a substantial collection of visual documentation in a range of formats. All graduate students are issued carrels in the library, which is open for study seven days a week. Graduate students may intern both in the museum’s curatorial and its research programs as well as other units of the Clark.

Williams College Museum of Art

The Williams College Museum of Art (WCMA) presents innovative exhibitions and programs in collaboration with students and faculty, and is free and open to the public. Stewardship, critical study, and interpretation of the Museum’s distinctive collection of more than 15,000 works of art is paramount to the institution’s sustained relevance as a catalytic teaching museum and training ground for future leaders in the arts. WCMA’s director and curators participate in the Graduate Program on a regular basis, including the supervision of internships and related special projects.

Aerial view of the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art from drone.
2016: Aerial views of the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art from drone.


Since opening in 1999, MASS MoCA has become one of the world’s premier centers for making and showing important contemporary art, including large-scale and complex installations impossible to realize in conventional museums. The 13 acres of grounds in North Adams, Massachusetts, encompass a vast complex of 19th-century factory buildings. MASS MoCA also hosts more than 75 performances staged year-round, including popular music, contemporary dance, alternative cabaret, world music dance parties, outdoor silent films with live music, documentaries, and avant-garde theater. Curators at MASS MoCA participate in the Graduate Program, including supervising internships and related projects.

Chapin Gallery in Sawyer Library

Chapin Library

The Special Collections at Williams, including the Chapin Library, constitute one of the finest collections of rare books and manuscripts at any American college or university. Students in the Graduate Program have pursed a range of internships at Chapin Library, including the organizing of exhibitions.


Williamstown Art Conservation Center

The Williamstown Art Conservation Center (WACC) is a nonprofit regional conservation facility located on the campus of the Clark. Conservators teach an annual graduate course on the principles of art conservation. WACC also offers an internship for graduate students seeking special projects.