Museology Master of Arts Program

The Museum field is constantly changing. Our curriculum is a balance of tried and true courses and new courses that address current and future trends in the field.

New Courses 

Our new special topics courses often become permanent courses. Below is a listing of courses that are now offered as part of our permanent curriculum. 

Museums & Technology (Fall ’20)

Course Highlight

The potential applications for technology in museum practice are numerous and their implications are far reaching. This course offers students an introduction to topics such as technology’s impacts on visitor experiences, engaging virtual audiences, and developing technology infrastructures; and balances them with considerations of feasibility in implementation and practice.

Classes thrive on active discussion and exploration. Student-led activities, presentations, and debate form the basis for class engagement. Guest speakers will attend classes throughout the quarter and provide insight on particular areas of technology development and practice. Students will have opportunities to explore topics of interest and share findings, implications, and perspectives. By integrating problem-centered workshops with traditional classroom curriculum, this course challenges students to explore not just how technology can be applied, but whether it should be applied at all, and in what circumstances.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students completing this course will:

  • Understand key trends, opportunities, and challenges surrounding technology in museum environments
  • Become aware of the areas where technology is making an impact in museums, and appreciate different perspectives of how the concepts of “museum” and “technology” intersect
  • Understand how to assess digital strategies with consideration for technology implications, feasibility, equity, and practicality.
  • Demonstrate an ability to apply theoretical concepts to the development of digital strategies and problem-based implementations.

Making Meaning: New Models of Museum Interpretation (Winter ’21)

Course Highlight
What does interpretation look like in museums today? Ranging from an authoritarian voice to crowd-sourced content, museums use interpretation to communicate and connect with visitors. This interactive course will explore modes of interpretation from labels to tours to collection management to technology. Through case studies, site visits, class discussion and writing exercises, students will be introduced to both the theory and practice of museum interpretation. Together we will think critically and creatively about inclusive, relevant and engaging interpretive strategies for all museums.

Learning Outcomes

In this course students will:

  • Understand foundational theories and emergent ideas
  • Understand how theory applies and aligns to contemporary practice
  • Develop skills necessary to compare and critique  institutional planning models
  • Develop skills across areas of museum interpretation, including  write a label, lead in-person interpretation and create an institutional interpretive plan

Community Engagement  (Winter ’21)

Course Highlight
Museums are positioned as central and integral to their communities. If this is indeed the case, how are these institutions engaging their communities with intent? Are these interactions meaningful and mutual? Do they move beyond the traditional audience outreach mechanisms? Through this course, students will learn about the importance of community engagement, the strategies and tactics of implementation and their impact. We will explore underlying theories that support community engagement, analyze some of the frameworks and toolkits that have been developed to help museum staff engage with the community through readings, discussions, and interaction with practitioners. Students will apply their learning towards the development of a community engagement plan.

Goal: To develop an understanding of the theory and practice of community engagement for emerging museum professionals so that they can help museums become agents of change in their communities

Learning Outcomes

  • Develop a shared understanding of the term community engagement and its intersection with audience engagement.
  • Understand and assess the individual skill sets needed to practice community engagement and practice the art of facilitation.
  • Develop an understanding of community engagement strategies and implementation tactics.
  • Understand the importance of organizational readiness to build partnerships, and undertake and sustain community engagement strategies
  • Develop the skills to create a community engagement plan.
  • Understand the impact of community engagement on the organization, field, and the community.