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New Interdisciplinary Certificate for Museum Studies

An announcement from the department of history today touts the establishment of a new certificate for students interested in a career in museums. Open to all undergrad & post-baccalaureate students, the new interdisciplinary Certificate in Museum Studies program is under the direction of associate professor of history Akela Reason. Reason helped establish and is now the director of the Summer Program in Public History in Washington D.C. in 2016. This new program is designed to further efforts to help students find their way into the many career opportunities afforded by museums all over the world. A brief glance at the description in the bulletin gives an overview of the program's goals and emphasizes that museums currently employ over 400,000 Americans and accounts for a sizeable contribution, in the billions, to the U.S. economy annually.

Description of the Program 

The Interdisciplinary Undergraduate Certificate Program in Museum Studies provides a broad overview of the history of museums as well as knowledge of museum theory, methodology, and practice consistent with contemporary national and international standards. The program gives particular attention to issues of museum history, ethics, multiculturalism, the relationships of museums to communities and diverse audiences, educational programs, and an examination of diverse types of collections and interpretations. 

Educational Goal 

To prepare students for a variety of careers in museums and museum-related fields through offering a range of courses in many disciplines.

  • To foster in students the critical thinking, analytical, and interpretive skills necessary for innovative inquiry and design in museums and museum-related fields through experiential learning opportunities.
  • To investigate museology through discipline-based knowledge, museum theory, and hands-on experiences.
  • To cultivate in students an understanding and appreciation of the value of museums and cultural institutions within the United States and internationally.
  • To provide students with an opportunity to augment their studies through existing resources on campus due to the interdisciplinary nature of museology


Career Opportunities 

Museums employ more than 400,000 Americans and directly contribute $21 billion to the U.S. economy annually. Professionals with museum training may also work in galleries, with corporate collections, in community centers and other arts organizations, and with other public and private collections. The Interdisciplinary Undergraduate Certificate in Museum Studies program of study offers a structured, sequential series of courses and experiences that gives students the necessary preparation for competitive employment in this field. Students who do not wish to become museum professionals can also have a better understanding of how to utilize museums in their future careers. For instance, educators can collaborate with museums for object-based learning opportunities, and scholars can make use of the resources of museums in their research.

The program requires a minimum of 16 credit hours, which includes Introduction to Museum Studies, a Museum Internship and a Museum Studies Capstone course alongside another 9 hours of elective courses. With the wide of array of electives, students can cater their certificate to their own interests. 

Program Requirements 

The undergraduate Certificate in Museum Studies requires a minimum of 16 semester credit hours. 

Required Courses (7 hours)

These foundations courses make up 7 of the 16 hours of credit necessary to complete the certificate program.

  • FCID 5010/7010 Introduction to Museum Studies (3 hours)
  • FCID 5015/7015 Museum Internship (3 hours) or the equivalent internship in a museum setting offered by the College of Environment and Design, Department of History, Lamar Dodd School of Art, Department of Anthropology, or Department of Textiles, Merchandising and Interiors
  • FCID 50XX (Proposed) Museum Studies Capstone (1 hour).

Pre-approved Elective Courses (9 hours)

An additional 9 credit hours will come from the list below and new related courses. Special topics, directed readings, and thesis courses that focus on an aspect of museum studies may also be included, subject to the approval of the director of the Interdisciplinary Undergraduate Certificate program in Museum Studies. Some courses are open only to majors in the department.

ANTH 3230 Material Culture

ANTH(BIOL)(ECOL)(ENTO)(PBIO) 4260/6260-4260L/6260L Natural History Collections Management

ARED 4010/6010 Art Criticism and Aesthetic Understanding

ARED 5500/7500 Introduction to Museum Education 

ARED 5510/7510 Engaging Art Museum Audiences as Student Docents

ARHI 4420/6420 American Art of the Fin de Siècle 1876-1913

ARHI 4440/6440 American Modernism 1900-1946: Alfred Stieglitz's America

ARHI 4580/6580 Postmodern Visual Culture

ARHI 4910/6910 Topics in Renaissance and Baroque Art: Drawings

EDES 4610/6610 Vernacular Architecture

EDES 4630/6630 The History and Theory of Twentieth Century Architecture

HIPR 4000/6000 Introduction to Historic Preservation

HIPR 4030/6030 Principles and Practices of Historic Preservation

HIPR 4072/6072 Issues in International Heritage Conservation

HIPR 4100/6100 Cultural Resource Assessment

HIPR 4120/6120 Historic Site Interpretation

HIPR(HIST) 4160/6160 Public History and Technology

HIST 4025/6025 American Material Culture, 1650-1950 

HIST 4026/6026 Introduction to Public History in Washington, D.C. 

HIST 4027/6027 American Museums, Parks, and Monuments

HIST(DIGI) 4760/6760 Hands-on Public History 

LAND 4620/6620 Evolution of American Architecture

TXMI 5820/7820 Museum Issues in Historic Clothing and Textiles 

What an exciting new endeavor for the department of history to offer to students across campus. Kudos on the success of establishing an interdisciplinary program accessible to students across campus. We look forward to hearing more about student experiences in the program.

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