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ART H 307: History of American Art

Welcome to the library guide for Dr Kavky's ART H 307: History of American Art at Penn State Berks!

Starting Our Research

paint brush iconIntroduction

"You have each selected a work from the textbook that you found interesting, and you have presented, or will present, that work to the class. For your presentation you used internet sites as well as reference materials (textbook). Now I would like you to go a step further in terms of research and use the library and scholarly databases to find art historical studies that either address your particular work, the artist of your work, the movement or genre associated with your work, or the historical context for your work.  

You will each write a short paper, 3-4 pages, proposing an exhibition strategy and offering a summary of your research findings in the form of a museum wall text and exhibition catalogue essay. Pretend that we (the class) are organizing an exhibition of American Art. Each of you will act as a curator for your work. Museum curators select, research and display works of art. You can think of your paper as an entry in a museum exhibition catalogue, which offers the public some interesting information and updated scholarship on that work."

--From The Assignment

book with blue arrow overlaidSources

Acceptable Sources

  • Scholarly journal articles--these are a special type of article that are written by scholars (professors), published in journals, often have long lists of citations.  Check out this example--you might recognize the author!
  • Book--you can find books at Thun Library or order books from other campuses if Thun does not have what you need.
  • Critical reviews of exhibitions--these are well-thought-out, substantial reviews of exhibitions by your artists.  They are often found in art journals or credible newspapers like the New York Times.  Please be aware that the reviews are opinions.

Unacceptable Sources

  • Wikipedia
  • Web Sites that lack credibility
  • Exhibition reviews that are not scholarly (some exhibition reviews only offer dates and times of the exhibit and very short summaries of the artwork--avoid these).


class settingClass Activity: Acceptable or Unacceptable Sources?

Finding Scholarly Journal Articles

Finding Scholarly Books

For Print Books: 

1.  Type in your topic and hit search.

2. Click on the title of the book you would like.

3.  If the book is located at Penn State Berks, please write down the call number and go to Thun Library to retrieve the book.  Please ask for help at the front desk.

If the book is located at another Penn State library, please click the blue "I Want It" button in the CAT to order the book.  The book will usually arrive at Thun Library's front desk in 2-3 business days (you'll receive an email when it arrives).

blue button that says "I Want It"

For Ebooks: 

1. Type in your topic and hit search

2.  Select "Access" on the left sidebar.

3.  Click "Online"

4.  Click the small blue "" under the books' titles to view the books.


Sample screen showing location of the "online" limit option on the left side.