Everyone goes to museums to appreciate artwork but do you really know how to analyze what you're looking at? Going away for a semester abroad, I decided to take an art history class because I thought that it would allow me to visit local museums and actually understand what I'm looking at when I go to those. Ultimately, I highly recommend taking an art history class because there's a lot of lessons you can take away it.
Gain the ability to discuss art intelligently with others
When in a museum or at an art exhibition, it could be embarrassing if you see people having a good conversation, talking about an art piece and you have no idea what is going on. By having at least one class under your belt, you can follow the discussion and maybe add an opinion about a certain piece.
Understand paintings in the context of history and how it contributed to society
When you learn about a work of art, you understand it in the context of the time it was created. You get to see how, for example, industrialization caused a move toward impressionism. Paintings demonstrate what was going on in society during the time.
Appreciate the differences and interactions of cultures
Artists not only used inspiration from their surroundings, but also from other painters. Picasso competed with Matisse, used the influence of African art, and made large innovations in the way people saw art. Without knowing it, looking at some of Picasso's pieces, you are also looking at the incorporation of other artists and other cultures during the time.
Trying to comprehend why art even matters
Who cares? Basically everyone. If you've ever been to a museum, you care about art. If you've ever stopped to see a piece of graffiti on the sidewalk, you should care. If you look at modern art installations in front of a building, that's another reason you should care. We are so surrounded by art that if you don't understand some kind of meaning or contextualization behind it, you're missing out on the history of the world.