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Museology/Museum Studies

Program Description

Just the Facts

Museology/Museum Studies. A program that focuses on the attitudes, knowledge, and skills required to develop, prepare, organize, administer, conserve, store and retrieve artifacts, exhibits and entire collections in museums and galleries, and that prepares individuals to assume curatorial, technical and managerial positions in museums. Includes instruction in institutional management, acquisition, exhibit design, conservation, packing techniques, and public relations.

This program is available in these options:

  • Certificate / Diploma
  • Associate degree
  • Bachelor's degree
  • Graduate Certificate
  • Master's degree

High School Courses

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Additional Information

Museum studies programs train students for positions in the country's greatest cultural institutions, from the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., to the Toaster Museum in Virginia.

Most programs are at the graduate level. Most students get a master's degree or a doctorate after completing a bachelor's degree in a field like art, history or anthropology. Some institutions offer a post-degree certificate in museum studies.

Some programs are general, while others focus on a specific area. For example, the University of Denver offers an art history museum studies program.

"Students graduate from our master's program with a foundation in the history of art, strong oral and written communication skills, the ability to do research in fields where nothing has been published previously, presentation skills, computer skills, and both an understanding and practical experience in art museums," says Annette Stott, director of the university's school of art and art history.

Students are encouraged to take a variety of undergraduate classes, including business, economics, history, art, anthropology and archeology.

"Most of our students come from history or anthropology, but we are keen to attract students with science backgrounds, as there is much work to be done in natural history museums and park interpretation," says Julia Harrison, a professor of museum studies.

Museum studies applicants must have good communication skills. They need to be able to write and deliver oral presentations. They must be well-rounded and have solid recommendations from previous professors.

Students in museum studies are typically inquisitive. They are often history, science or art buffs.

Many employers look for museum studies majors with a thorough knowledge of the museum's specialty. In other words, if you're going to work in an art museum, you should have an art background. If you're going to work in a science museum, you should study science before taking museum studies.

Many people secure practical, on-the-job training through internships or volunteer work.

Volunteer in museums during the summer, join science clubs and go on archeological digs. "Take any opportunity you have to study the arts, literature and history," says Stott. "Languages are also very helpful, especially French, German, Spanish and Italian."

Besides tuition and books, there may also be organization and membership fees, conference or field trip fees and student fees.


Occupational Outlook Handbook
For more information related to this field of study, see: Archivists, Curators and Museum Technicians

Smithsonian Institution
Visit this great American museum

The Louvre
One of the world's great art museums


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