Eastern Illinois University

Please note: this program is closing after its 2017 class graduates. Source.

Updated on February 19, 2017 to incorporate additional responses.

This is the review for the Historical Administration program at Eastern Illinois University. Here are some quick facts about the program to get you started:

  • Requires a six-month internship and research paper
  • There have been 370 graduates from this program since 1975
  • The program offers five to nine graduate assistantships per year that include full tuition waiver and monthly stipend

These facts were found here, here, and here.

EIU map.png
Eastern Illinois University is a public university located in Charleston, Illinois.

There have been seventeen responses for this program from alumni who graduated less than a year ago up to 15 years ago. Seven respondent graduated 0-5 years ago, two graduated 6-10 years ago, two graduated 11-15 years ago, and two graduated at least 16 years ago.

The advantages these graduates noted are:

  • Taught by instructors with practical experience in the field and support students while they attend and after graduating
  • Well-rounded curriculum exposes students to all facets of the field
  • Field work with local institutions to gain practical experience in addition to theory
  • 1-year program of classes
  • Most students receive a graduate assistantship with a stipend and tuition waiver
  • Large network of involved alumni throughout the United States as well as some foreign locations
  • Hands on experience, especially the collaborative building of an exhibit
  • Lots of group work that prepares students for the teamwork required in many museums
  • Small class size (10) which leads to individualized attention from professors
  • The program is geared to train students to work in small to medium sized history museums instead of larger institutions.

The disadvantages the graduates noted are:

  • Very intense because many classes require so much time/effort at the same time.
  • Focus on American material culture
  • Some classes just give your resources rather than hands-on training in a subject. End up writing more papers than working on projects.
  • The program is geared to train students to work in small to medium sized history museums instead of larger institutions.
  • Museum Education portion of the program could be strengthened

The overall score for this program as it was when the graduates attended is 9.29/10.00.

The overall score for this program as it is now is 9.43/10.00

This score is based on 14 of the 17 respondents and the change is due to a decrease in site visits offered during the program and faculty changes.

Sixteen respondents do not work near Eastern Illinois University.

Seven of the seventeen graduates work at a history museum, two work at a historical society, two work at a private/corporate collection, one works for a children’s museum, one works at a cultural center, one works at a specialty museum, one is a student, one works outside of the museum field, and one graduate is unemployed.

Eleven graduates’ work encompasses collections management. Ten graduates’ work encompasses curatorial duties. Eight graduates’ work includes registration. Seven graduates’ work includes administration. Five graduates’ work includes exhibitions, education, and archival/library duties. Three graduate’s work encompasses visitor services/membership.

Some current job titles are:

  • Memorabilia Archivist
  • Director of Collections
  • Executive Director
  • Director of Collections and Public Engagement

Some dream job titles are:

  • Curator of Collections
  • Manager of Family and Adult Programs
  • Director of Development
  • Director of Education

My Summary:

This program is well-established and seems like it would be a good fit for someone interested working in a small to medium sized history museum.  According to the program and the graduates, this program does prepare students for the wide array of skills necessary in the museum field. I will say though that the majority of these respondents do work within the curatorial and/or collection management departments of their museums. So, this school and program may be a perfect fit for students looking to work within those departments.

I would like to point out a mistake on my part. Initially, I assumed “Historical Administration” would be similar to an arts administration or management degree; courses would teach students about the administrative side of nonprofits maybe focusing on history and other types of museums instead of arts as a whole.

The program does offer a couple of courses entitled, “Leadership in Museums” I and II where students learn about ethics, marketing, disaster planning and get to write a grant proposal. However, from the website, that looks like about it on museum administration instruction. Other courses are on other aspects of museum work-which I think is great. This program sounds like it prepares students for work specifically in history museums, though many of the topics covered sound transferrable. If you would like more information, head over to their website. Please add your input by commenting below, contacting me, or filling out the survey!


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