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Museum Studies Certificate

Are you curious about how museums are organized and operate, how they care for and interpret their collections, how they serve their audiences, and what issues they face in satisfying their diverse responsibilities?

Are you interested in a career in museum work? Or would you like to increase your potential for advancement in the field of museum work?

Do you have at least a bachelor's degree that would be strengthened by additional training in the field of museum studies?

If you can answer "yes" to any of these questions, the Museum Studies Graduate Certificate Program is for you.

This graduate certificate explores fundamental aspects of museum work.

It can provide you with the skills and knowledge that are the basis for many aspects of museum work, including: museum management, collection care and maintenance, exhibition and educational program development, and use of technology in museums.

It is an integrated program of study combining classroom instruction with internship opportunities for direct on-the-job experiences.

Twelve credit hours of study are required. Students should expect to complete the certificate over a one- to two-year period. The certificate program may be pursued as a stand-alone program or may be earned in conjunction with existing graduate degree programs.

Certificate Program Curriculum

The curriculum of this multidisciplinary certificate program is designed to supply students with a balance of the practical and theoretical information needed to work in the museum world.

It consists of four classes:  one (1) internship + any three (3) courses from the available electives in “intellectual history” seminars and “practical” seminars, totaling 12 credits.

“Intellectual History” Seminars:

Art of Collecting ARTH8098 (3 gr. cr.) The purpose of this class is to study the art and history of collecting art, and other cultural material, by individuals and institutions. We will address the development of art, science, natural history, and history museums in the world, especially in the U.S. We will study patterns of intention and behavior among the great art and object collectors/philanthropists in the West and the ways in which their collections are seen and perceived by the public. This will involve an analysis of the politics of exhibition, ethics in acquiring items from other cultures, and social responsibility.

Colonialism, Postcolonialism, Globalism, and Exhibition ARTH8005 (3 gr. cr.) A seminar dealing with contemporary postcolonial theory and criticism in relation to the history of exhibitions of the 19th and 20th centuries, spanning the spectacular display of so-called primitive arts and peoples to contemporary state-sponsored biennials, which continue to proliferate, and which have created a crisis, according to which artists and critics are required to trace and mime the tourism and globalization criticized by so much contemporary art.

Critical History of Museums and Curating FAA8004 (3 gr. cr.) This course considers the history of museums and collecting practices from the ancient Alexandrian and Pergamon libraries through to Renaissance curiosity cabinets and the founding of the Paris Louvre and London National Gallery. A study of the context for the inauguration of the Detroit Institute of Arts and the Cincinnati Art Museum provide an introduction to the American museum world. The second part of this course evaluates contemporary curatorial practices from International biennials to artist-run spaces. The course is built around readings and presentations in each of these subjects and incorporates study visits to local institutions.

Dissolving the White Cube ARTH8007
(3 gr. cr.) A course on the history of contemporary curating following the transformation of the gallery from a "white cube," stemming from the debates in the 1960s, into the forms of current post-studio practices around the world.

History of Exhibitions ARTH8056 (3 gr. cr.) The course provides a historical survey of art exhibitions and exhibition practices with a focus on interconnections between exhibitions, issues of visual presentation, and artists’ practices. It explores transformations in the organizations, framing, and presentations from the 18th Century through today, focusing primarily on exhibitions outside of North America since 1945.
Topical Graduate Seminars 1 and 2 in Museum Studies ARTH8011 and ARTH8012 (3 gr. cr.) Special topics seminars deal with topics in museum studies to supplement study areas offered in the other graduate seminars in museum studies. Topics are chosen by faculty members with regard to their availability and interests.

“Practical” Seminars:

Introduction to Museum Management ARTH6014 (3 gr. cr., also available for 3 ug. cr.) This course provides an overview of topics in museum management and collections management, with emphasis on standard organizational structure and administrative practices of collecting museums, including procedures for collections conservation, registration, exhibition and interpretation.

Exhibition Planning and Design ARTH8008 (3 gr. cr.) Study of the exhibition planning and design processes, including label writing, design and display methods, lighting, publications, public programming, and outreach. Special consideration will be given to the challenges museums face in presenting material from other cultures, as well as other ethical issues facing curators and other museum personnel. The course will also explore the challenges of funding and grant-writing in order to stage exhibitions.

Museum Education ARTH8009 (4 gr. cr.) A comprehensive study of developments in museum educational initiatives of the last 30 years with a particular emphasis on recent attempts by museums to expand their reach into more diverse ethnic and economic communities. The course will evaluate the effectiveness of technology applied in museum education, and consider the role of museums in the education of the local community.

Additional Requirements:

  • Online application
  • $20 application fee
  • Transcripts that indicate receipt of a least a bachelor's degree with a 3.0 GPA.

Any questions regarding the certificate program should be directed to Joe Girandola at