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Architectural Historian

Architectural Historian

Architectural historians specialize in the study of the history of architecture. They often work on the historical preservation and renovation of older houses and buildings that are often publicly owned.

State and federal agencies often employ architectural historians. Some of their more common tasks include maintaining an inventory of historic sites, consulting on a variety of historical preservation projects, developing proposals in order to receive government grants, performing historical research, and preparing documents that inform the general public about the progress of certain projects. Other architectural historians work for private architectural firms.

In addition to working on public renovation projects, architectural historians may consult on a variety of private projects. For example, a homeowner may consult an architectural historian for advice on the renovation of an older home. In such cases, the client may be looking to incorporate modern conveniences without sacrificing the traditional appearance of the home.

Education and Training

In the U.S., architectural historians may need the following education and training:

  • a bachelor's degree in architectural history, art history, or historic preservation
  • a master's degree in architectural history, art history, or historic preservation
  • course work should include at least one course in American architectural history

On the Job

Architectural historians have a working knowledge of architecture and often a strong interest in state and national history, archaeology, and geography. Architectural historians work closely with public and private individuals and organizations, and need strong written and verbal communication skills.

Architectural historians usually work indoors in an office environment. In addition, architectural historians often make trips to project sites in order to gather information and check on the progress of renovations.

Math on the Job

Like all architects, architectural historians must have an excellent sense of scale and proportion. This skill is helpful in reading blueprints as well as deciding on renovations that are in scale with the existing structure. Architectural historians must to be able to visualize objects and layouts in three dimensions. This requires an ability to work with two-dimensional and three-dimensional drawing. Computer skills are also important.

Related Careers

  • architect
  • architectural renderer
  • historian
  • interior designer

You can get more information about a career as an architectural historian from the Society of Architectural Historians (SAH) .