Art History / Art Conservation / Art Appraisal

Go behind the scenes in a conservator’s lab and explore the history, care, and valuation of art objects in a hands-on learning environment.


Students enrolled in this Exploration course will survey the fields of art history, art conservation, and art appraisal, focusing on how the history and condition of artworks influence both their physical care and their value in the global art market. Guided by expert educators and leaders in the field, our Exploration courses focus on the intersectionality between topics. In this course, students will gain a behind-the-scenes perspective on the historical context of art objects, how those objects are preserved for future generations, and the key factors professional appraisers use when determining the value of art in museums, galleries, auction houses, and private collections.


Our multidisciplinary approach to learning encourages students to sample different fields and employ critical thinking and creative problem-solving skills. The program is geared toward students eager to discover their passions, try something new, and prepare for college. From site visits and excursions to lectures by expert practitioners, the Exploration program is curated to give students a newfound sense of direction for their future studies by shedding light on a diverse selection of subject material.


Site Visits

This is a new course. Possible site visits may include:

  • Sotheby’s auction house
  • Art conservation labs
  • Art appraisal firms
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • The Museum of Modern Art
  • The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
  • The Frick Collection
  • Art galleries and art gallery neighborhoods
  • Artists’ studios


Guest Speakers

Possible guest speakers may include:

  • Art appraisers
  • Museum curators
  • Gallery directors
  • Art conservators
  • Art historians
  • Artists


Materials Fee: $250


Please note: This information is subject to change at any time at the discretion of Sotheby’s Institute of Art.

Term Dates

Term dates and course availability depend heavily on instructors’ schedules.

  • Term 4 Grades 10 - 12 & Graduating Seniors July 19 to July 31

This summer, we’re offering 14 unique courses for Summer Institute students. All courses are open to rising 10th – 12th graders and graduating seniors. Explore the full summer schedule to learn more about course dates.

View Summer Schedule

What is an Exploration?

Explorations are designed to introduce students to three different fields of work and study in a two-week Institute term. This survey approach to learning enables students to make cross-disciplinary connections and informed decisions about their academic and career choices.

Course Highlights

Summer Institute enables students to dive deep into a course of study, sharpening skills for their academic and professional careers. Each course is carefully designed to suit student interests and encourage intellectual curiosity.

  • 1

    Art History: Students will get a taste of art history through guided tours of some of New York City’s top art museums. Students will learn about major artists and art movements from antiquity to modernism through visits to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art, with a focus on how objects were made differently at different times in history.

  • 2

    Art Conservation: Students will be introduced to the fascinating field of art conservation, which sits at the intersection of art history, chemistry, and studio art. By visiting art conservation labs in museums and hearing presentations by top conservators in New York City, students will gain new perspective on the complex and dedicated process needed to preserve the condition of cultural objects for future generations.

  • 3

    Art Appraisal: In this module, students enter the mindset of a professional appraiser and consider the many factors affecting how art is valued in a dynamic global market. Through presentations and interviews with industry experts, students learn how to properly research an object to determine market price. Building on their knowledge of art conservation, students understand and analyze the impact that the condition of an object can have on its value.

Summer Institute Faculty

Our instructors are award-winning Sotheby's Institute faculty, recognized thought leaders and professional experts in the art world. Each faculty member structures their course around real-time conversations defining their professions and helps students master the unique forces at play in the art world.

Summer Institute Faculty

Experience New York

  • New York City New York City

    With New York City as their campus, students will have access to all the city has to offer, attending field trips, site visits and special events.

  • Speaker Series Speaker Series

    Summer Institute students have unique opportunities to connect with the most accomplished artists and art professionals working today.

  • Housing Housing

    Summer Institute students have the option of living on campus in the university dormitories or commuting to class from their local residence.

  • Dining Dining

    University cafeteria-style dining halls serve a wide variety of healthy alternatives for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

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