This is the first interview for Wright State University. This alumnus graduated in 2014 and currently works as an Archivist. Thank you for answering these questions!
Why did you choose Wright State University?
It was close to home and affordable for me.
What was your favorite class and/or professor and why?
I loved any preservation classes I took, including objects and archives – and those professors were my favorites.
What particular skills were taught in the program?
Archival management, collections management, exhibition techniques, oral history, basic conservation techniques, disaster planning, public speaking, professional development, research/writing
Did you complete a thesis or capstone project? If so, what was your topic?
Yes, I completed a capstone project. I researched a local philanthropist’s donation to the institution (including photography) and presented my findings to the philanthropists’ family for their review. I also presented on the topic.
Where were you and your classmates in your career? Just out of undergrad, or coming from an entry-level museum position, or coming from outside of the field, etc.?
Most just out of undergrad. A few non-traditional students, but none who had worked in museums before.
Related, who would you recommend your program for? Any particular focus or for those interested in theory vs. application?
I would recommend the program for those who have just graduated undergrad. It would be difficult to come back to it after years out of school. There are 2 focuses available – archives and museums. You can take both tracks if you wish (I did); the first year was more focused on theory, and then the internship and second year were focused on application.
Was housing provided for grad students or did you find your own housing and was it a challenge?
Found own housing, not a challenge since I was local.
Did you or any of your peers work while pursuing their degree?
A few did. I was a graduate assistant but didn’t do any other outside work.
Any advice for those looking into graduate school and beginning a career in museums?
Have a very good “why” for wanting to do it. The pay in the field is not comparable to other job opportunities, so you have to be passionate about what you are doing. Also, know that grad school is a time and money investment – but it is well worth it if you put in the effort.
Thanks for sharing more information about your graduate school experience! If you’re interested in learning more about the program, check out their website and the blog post. If you’re looking to add your own input, fill out the survey or contact me!
This is the review for the Museum Studies program at Indiana University-Purdue Universiy Indianapolis (IUPUI). To begin, here are a few facts about the program and university:
The program offers not only an MA but a graduate certificate and undergraduate certificate in Museum Studies
A variety of courses to pick from with pre-approved electives outside of the Museum Studies program
Capstone project at the end which means students’ may not be required to write a thesis but complete an equally impressive project
Five of the Museum Studies professors hold the title of Public Scholar. Click the link, to learn more, I’m not quite sure how to explain it better than how IUPUI wrote it.
So far, I have received four responses from alumni who graduated less than a year ago up to ten years ago. Three of the four respondents graduated 0-5 years ago, one respondent graduated 6-10 years ago.
The advantages they list are:
Build connections with local museums and museum professionals
Professors attend conferences and are supportive of you attending
The department offers a wide range of professors. Each professor has had museum experience prior to getting their PhD and becoming professors. The professors are also public scholars who teach/work beyond the museum studies department in museums, fine arts, anthropology, public history, or education.
Requires 6 credits of internship which you can spread across multiple internships
Indianapolis is a very cheap place to live and there are a lot of apartments within walking distance of campus
IUPUI is inexpensive, particularly for in-state students
Alumni have spread out across the US and people stay in touch
Small program, and good rapport with peers (not heavy competition for local internships)
Very strong support from faculty and alumni network
Very community involved (with area museums)
Hands-on experience working in museums and with museum collections, with almost half of the courses held in a museum.
Required classes in each of the core departments of museums: collections, education, and administration. Students have the flexibility to build their own experience in the program with a large number of additional museum electives and approved electives in many related fields (History, Anthropology, Education, Nonprofit Management, etc.)
Each course had a service learning project where we would create/conduct projects for area museums.
The core values of the program (civic engagement, inclusion, collaboration, applied learning, integration, and learning) focus on teaching how museums need to reflect, grow, and work with their local and global communities.
The disadvantages they list are:
The Indianapolis job market is saturated with IUPUI museum studies graduates.
Funding is limited. However, the department works hard to find grants and museum partners to either place grad students for part-time work, work/study, or fellowships.
A more realistic look at the field and a frank discussion about finding a museum career job after graduation
Professors used to be supportive of working full time while in program, no longer as supportive
There is a large selection of Museum Studies electives, but most are rarely offered
The overall rating of the program as it was when the respondents attended is 9/10
Three of the four respondents live near IUPUI.
Two of the respondents work in an art museum, one works in an academic museum or gallery and one is currently still in school.
Two respondents’ work involves education. One respondent’s work involves public programs, collections management, registration, exhibitions, archival/library duties, curatorial duties, administration, and visitor services/membership.
Some current job titles are:
Public Programs Coordinator
Assistant Director of Education
Some dream jobs are:
Director of Youth and Family Programming
Director of Public Programming
After a brief browse through the program’s website and reading what these respondents had to say, this program sounds solid. The Public Scholar title stood out initially and then was enforced by the respondents’ feedback about the program’s relationship with local museums and their commitment within classwork to connect their theoretical lesson to practical examples.
At this point, financial aid will always be an issue. The important part to me is how hard the program works to find the funding for students. With the program’s connections with the museums in Indianapolis and the dedication the faculty seems to have to their students, it seems like the program is doing the best with the funding they have.
I would be interested in learning more about specifics though. What are some of the museums where students regularly intern or work? How many students end up receiving funding through fellowships or scholarships offered through UIPUI? How often are the majority of the museum electives really offered? Has the time commitment changed drastically enough that working full-time isn’t an option? If you have answers to any of these question please comment below, contact me, or fill out the survey. I’ll also be contacting the program’s director to see what I can find out.
If you want to check out the program for yourself, here is the link to the website.
Updated on April 22, 2017, to include information from the director of the program, Jaelyn Eberle.
This is the review for the Museum and Field Studies program offered at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Here are some facts about the program and university:
The degree earned is a Master of Science
The program gets 50-75 applications a year and accepts 8-12 students
To earn said degree, students must complete the two-year program with a thesis or capstone project and a final exam
Three different tracks are available, collections/field, public/administration, and art history
The Director of the program considers the program to be a “museum immersion program” where students work at the Natural History Museum for two years, and complete an additional 150-hour internship. Then add in some classes and that thesis or project.
The majority of graduates find employment within six months after graduation
This is the review for the Museum Education program offered by Tufts University. This is a two-year program through the Education Department that includes Museum Studies courses in its curriculum. This program includes the Museum Studies Graduate Certificate program that can also be completed by itself.
About 35 students are accepted yearly
The two-year program requires students to complete five museum studies courses, two education courses and four elective courses on a topic of the student’s choice
This is the review for the Museum Studies Certificate offered at Tufts University. Students can earn the Certificate by completing five courses, including one internship course. This is built for working professionals with classes offered in the evening and the option to complete the program as a part-time student. The University also offers combination options with the Department of Art and Art History, History, and Education.
Recently, the program has admitted two-thirds of its applicants
The program does not require the GRE and only requires one letter of recommendation
The internship course requires students to complete 200 hours of the internship
Offers four different concentrations, History, Art History, Education or Classics.
This is the review for Bank Street College of Education’s Museum Education department that offers three different programs. There is the Museum Education: Childhood with certification for those interested in teaching in a school classroom or without certification for those interested in teaching outside of a school classroom. Third, there is the Leadership in Museum Education program for those already working in museums. Here are some more fast facts about the program and college:
To apply for the Leadership in Museum Education program, students must have at least three years of museum experience. The program is for two years, with classes meeting one weekend a month and one week in June each year.
The Museum Education: Childhood programs, students student teach at a school in the fall and intern at a museum in the spring
With the certification option, students are eligible for New York state Childhood General Education, grades 1 through 6
At the end of any of these three programs, students earn an MS in Education
The College was founded by Lucy Sprague Mitchell; another awesome woman to acknowledge during Women’s History Month
This is the first interview for Seton Hall University featuring Gillian Suss. She graduated in 2009 and currently works at an art museum as a Collection Management Assistant. Thank you, Gillian, for these answers!
Why did you choose Seton Hall University?
I chose Seton Hall because it felt like the best “fit” for me. I really wanted a program that would provide me with hands-on learning opportunities, and I believe that the registration and collections management courses at SHU did that. I was also able to save money while going to SHU by living at my parents’ house and through a part- and then full-time assistantship with the program.