New requirements, new directions, and new opportunities prepare students in KU’s museum studies program for leadership in all areas of the profession. With an eye on the field’s future, the program enables students to hone their professional skills while gaining deep understanding of museums’ 21st Century challenges.
The new KU Master of Arts in Museum Studies combines the interdisciplinary and collaborative qualities of museum work with the concepts and theories that shape contemporary museum studies. Museum Studies students develop individualized, flexible, programs of study that “allow you to craft your degree to fit your needs and career goals,” as one current student says.
The Museum Studies degree has six components comprising 36 semester credit hours.
• The Museum Studies Core is a suite of three courses designed to ensure a comprehensive understanding of the theory, history, techniques, and problems common to museums, historical societies, and related institutions.
• Museum Professional Areas – Leadership and Management, Interpretation, Collections, and Community Connections – give students the ability to develop expertise in at least one of the principal areas of museum work.
• To enhance their knowledge of museum’s Conceptual Domains – Materiality, Representation, and Engagement – students are encouraged to take courses in disciplines such as History, Anthropology, Art History, Communications, or Film and Media Studies.
• Numerous Electives from fields as diverse as Psychology, Public Administration, Art Education, and Marketing give students the flexibility to choose courses outside of the department that will help them achieve their professional goals.
• Every student also gains at least 500 hours of Museum Experience. At least 250 hours are in a supervised internship. Many students complete their internships during the summer between their first and second year, allowing them to work at museums anywhere in the world. Students also have many opportunities to gain museum experience throughout the academic year at one of the numerous museums and archives on campus and in the region.
• Individual mastery and creative effort come together in each student’s Final Product. Under the guidance of a faculty committee, the final product may take the form of a traditional research paper, or it may be built around a museum program, emerging technology, or exhibition. It gives each student an opportunity to engage conceptually and professionally with the discipline while contributing to the museum studies field.
The program changes have been led by KU’s new Director of Museum Studies, Professor Peter H. Welsh. With more than 35 years of museum and academic experience, Welsh brings longstanding commitment to museum studies as a discipline and a profession. Throughout his career, he has been actively involved in issues such as NAGPRA; museum representation and interpretation of cultures; and the sustainability of local history organizations. He headed the graduate museum studies program at Arizona State University, and served as Director of the Deer Valley Rock Art Center, Director of the Arizona Historical Society Museum at Papago Park, and Chief Curator of the Heard Museum in Phoenix, among other accomplishments.
Applications review for the Master’s program will begin on January 15. For more information on the Museum Studies Program at The University of Kansas, please visit our website at http://museumstudies.ku.edu/.
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