Museology Master of Arts Program

Building practical experience

The Museology program unites the academic and practical foundations needed to be an innovative museum professional. We incorporate hands-on experience into the graduation requirements so students have plenty of opportunities to do real work in museums. As a part of the curriculum, students complete at least 6 credits of internships – about 180 hours – in museums between the Winter quarter of their first year and the end of the second year.

Through these internships, we hope that students will:

  • Explore different areas of museum practice to refine their career goals
  • Develop the skills, knowledge, and creativity needed for their career goals in the museum field
  • Build their professional network in the museum field – both peers and mentors
  • Grow more confident in their work and feel inspired to be innovators in the field

Museology students have access to a wide variety of internship opportunities through the program’s network of alumni and friends, both locally and nationally. Our advisors help students to identify experiences that fit their interests and career goals. In the past five years, our students have worked with over 60 local institutions such as the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture and the Seattle Art Museum. They have also completed internships in over 30 regional, national, and international organizations such as the Smithsonian National Museum of National History in Washington, D.C. and the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago.

Paid Internships

Starting in the Spring of 2018, we started our Paid Internship Pilot in an effort to build capacity for paid internships in the museum field while supporting students’ professional development.The prevalence of unpaid internships in the museum field, and in the professional world more broadly, can pose a significant barrier for even the most enthusiastic emerging professional. In fact, unpaid internships may widen the opportunity gap for underrepresented students.

Through the Paid Internship Pilot, each Museology student is eligible to receive funding for up to 180 hours of internships paid at $18 per hour. We have partnered with a growing pool of over 25 organizations that offer a wide range of paid internship opportunities, such as the Seattle Art Museum, National Nordic Museum, and Seattle Aquarium.

Past student internships

Faithe McCreery, ’15, worked with the Seattle Art Museum’s education department on their ACCESS program for blind and partially-sighted visitors during the fall and winter quarter of her second year. “I have loved working closely with the docent committee in charge of ACCESS, forging bonds with tour participants, and reaching out to local organizations that serve and advocate for people with disabilities,” Faithe said. “I was also able to build up a very strong knowledge base around museum accessibility.”

Caitlin Cooper, ’17, was awarded the Curatorial Fellow in Native American Art and Culture with the Peabody Essex Museum. During her summer fellowship at Peabody, Caitlin conducted research for an upcoming exhibition on contemporary Native American artist, T.C. Cannon, proposed to mount in Spring 2018. Caitlin will continue to be involved with the project remotely and be listed as a contributor to the accompanying exhibition publication.

Caitlin also corresponded with American Indian tribes to repatriate human remains and associated funerary objects to tribal communities, as per the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act regulations. In addition to her challenging and diverse work plan, Caitlin participated in intensive weekly workshops that focused on leadership and institutional organization.

Leonor Colbert, ’17, worked with Lace Thornberg, ’10 of Braided River to put together an exhibit about the sagebrush and the sea; the most imperiled landscape in the American West. Leonor gained firsthand experience in scheduling traveling exhibits, reaching out to staff members at museums, galleries, and wildlife centers across the country. Leonor said, “I made connections with a diverse range of professionals in the fields of conservation, photography, and nonprofits that goes beyond the usual purview of the museum field.”