Museum Studies Minor

The Museum Studies Minor is intended to provide students with the academic foundation and practical experience necessary for entrance into museum careers.  It explores the manner in which museums are organized and operate and how they care for and interpret their collections, serve their audiences, respond to new technologies, and grapple with complex legal and ethical issues unique to their disciplines, including the cultural implications of the work they do and the extent of its impact from the intimate community to the global market.

Reflecting the broad spectrum of museum types, the Museum Studies Minor incorporates the disciplines of anthropology, art, art history, classics, historic preservation, and history, from which students may select their own concentration preference.  These courses offer a range of learning opportunities led by scholars and museum practitioners from across the UMW campus.

Internships are available at the three UMW museums, which have cooperated in the development of this minor, as well as at museums throughout the region. Museum Studies minors are also required to meet with their advisors as part of the internship selection process to ensure that students choose an appropriate internship experience.  Mentors who work in the museum field are required for all internships.  Your advisor and the chair of the Museum Studies Committee must approve all internships.  For more information, please visit Internship Requirements.

Students should review the Museum Studies Minor Requirements.

SIGNING UP FOR THE MINOR:

1 — In order to enroll in the minor, students must first meet with a member of the Museum Studies Committee who is from their major department (see below) to go over the Check Sheet.  This person will also be their advisor in the minor.  If your major is not listed, then please contact either Drs. Liane Houghtalin or Kelli Slunt, who will go over the Check Sheet with you and be your advisor.  You and your advisor will keep copies of the Check Sheet for record keeping purposes.

2 — Students then must bring the signed Check Sheet along with a filled-in major/minor declaration card (available on the Registrar’s website) to the Chair of the Museum Studies Host Department, which is currently Dr. Craig Vasey in the Department of Classics, Philosophy, and Religion.  Dr. Vasey will register students for the minor; he also needs to sign your Check Sheet as Host Department Chair.

HOME DEPARTMENT: 

Classics, Philosophy and Religion

Craig Vasey, Department Chair / Liane Houghtalin, Museum Studies Committee Member

MUSEUM STUDIES COMMITTEE:

Anthropology: Eric Gable

Art: Rosemary Jesionowsky

Art History: JeanAnn Dabb

Chemistry: Kelli Slunt

Classics: Liane Houghtalin

Education:  Marie Sheckels

Historic Preservation: Cristina Turdean (Committee Chair)

History and American Studies: Krystyn Moon

James Monroe Museum and Memorial Library: Scott Harris

CURRICULUM (18 Credits)

Required courses (6 credits): Art History 315 or Historic Preservation 200 AND Art History 317 or Historic Preservation 463;

Elective courses (9 credits) from among Anthropology 309, 341, 342; Classics 380; Historic Preservation 208, 303, 320; History 428; special topics courses with approval, including Anthropology 371 or 481, Art History 470, Historic Preservation 471, or History 300 and 471; and, Art History 317 or Historic Preservation 463 if not used to satisfy one of the requirements above. One 3-credit Individual Study course may be substituted for one of the elective courses with the approval of the instructor and chair of the home department.

Students should contact the Chair of Museum Studies Committee or the Chair of the Classics, Philosophy and Religion Department regarding which special topics courses are approved to count towards this minor.

 

Internship (499) – 3 credits; an additional 3 credits of internship may be substituted for one elective course listed above.

In summary:

  • ARTH 315 – Art Museum Studies (3 credits)
    OR
    HISP 200 – Introduction to Museum Studies (3 credits)
  • ARTH 317 – Laboratory in Museum Studies (3 credits)
    OR
    HISP 463 – Laboratory in Museum Design and Interpretation (3 credits)
    [if both are taken, one may count as one elective course]
  • Three elective courses (3 credits each)
  • Internship (3 credits) [NOTE: your advisor and the chair of the Museum Studies Committee must approve your internship; all internships are required to have a member of the Museum Studies Committee as sponsor]

 COURSE OFFERINGS

ANTHROPOLOGY

309 – Anthropology of Art (3) Anthropological approaches to understanding art, focusing but not limited to non-western art forms such as painting, sculpture, architecture, ceramics, textiles, body art; relationship among meaning, material, and aesthetic; mutual influences of western & non-western art; collection, globalization, and copyright of non-western art.

341 – Practices of Memory (3) Prereq: ANTH 101 or 200 or permission of  instructor. Collective memory, or a shared understanding of the past, plays a vital role in group identity and in the way present events are understood.  But memories are made in the present, and they are always selective.  Indeed, remembering always involves forgetting.  What is remembered and forgotten can be extremely important: the stories we tell about our past, the events we commemorate, the museum exhibits we visit, the films we produce and watch, and the monuments we build all play a significant role in defining our identity by shaping how we view the past.  For this very reason representations of the past are a source of political power and often become the focus of conflict. In this course we will examine the concept of collective memory, consider the ways different groups construct representations of the past in different contexts, and explore conflicts over remembering.

 342 – Touring Cultures (3) Prereq: ANTH 101 or 200 or permission of instructor. In this course we will explore “touring cultures” – cultures of tourists and tourism, as well as the cultures of those toured and the effects of tourism on them.  Tourism is one of the largest and fastest growing industries in the world today, but also represents a specific form of experience and a culture unto itself that some authors have compared to religious pilgrimage.  We will examine interactions between tourists, local residents, and institutions; and the ways people, places, and historic periods are produced and packaged for consumption by tourists.  Other topics will include the connections between tourism and issues of leisure and consumption, globalization, class and ethnic identities, authentic vs. manufactured experiences, and sex tourism.  We will also examine the increasing dependence of many communities on tourist dollars for their livelihood and how this affects those communities.

371 – Special Topics (with approval)

481 – Senior Thesis (with approval)

491, 492 – Individual Study and Research (with approval)

499 – Internship (with approval)

ART HISTORY

315 – Art Museum Studies (3) Prereq: ARTH 114 and 115, advanced standing in Studio Art or Art History, or permission of instructor.  Examines the art museum and its role, including: developing and managing collections and exhibits; interpretation and museum education for diverse audiences; funding, governance; and ethics and values.

317 – Laboratory in Museum Studies (3) Prereq:  ARTH 315 or HISP 200 or permission of instructor. Through the creation of a hypothetical museum, students gain experience working in a team environment as they apply their knowledge about museum audience, collections, education, exhibition, organization and administration, physical plant, and public relations.

 470 – Special Studies in Art History (with approval) Prereq: ARTH 114, 115, 303, and permission of instructor. For Art History majors and other qualified students. Concentration, in seminar format, is on an individual artist, specific problem, limited time period, or theme.

470S – Gianlorenzo Bernini and the Italian Baroque (3) This course satisfies the 400-level research seminar requirement in Art History as well as a Writing Intensive requirement.  The course also satisfies a Museum Studies elective requirement. Part of the work for this course includes creating an online exhibit on the art of Bernini.

Gianlorenzo Bernini (1598-1680) was acclaimed by his contemporaries as a rare genius.  He was active as a sculptor before the age of nine, and his juvenilia demonstrates a dazzling understanding of technique and a remarkable sense of style.  Like many of his predecessors, he was the son of an artist, and he studied in the workshop of his father, the sculptor Pietro Bernini (1562-1629).  This early socialization within the business of sculpture may explain Gianlorenzo’s artistic direction, but nothing really explains the child’s amazing comprehension of his craft.

The son quickly overtook the father, and Pietro’s recognition of Gianlorenzo’s talent was legendary even in the seventeenth century.  The aristocracy of church and state called upon Bernini to give physical form to their visions of grandeur, both spiritual and secular.  In architecture, sculpture, painting, and theater, Bernini expressed for his patrons their own sense of wonder, accomplishment, and sheer power.  There was no other artist in the seventeenth century who could so completely fulfill the needs of the age of Absolutism.

Troubling questions confront us.  Why did the twentieth century pay so little attention to this artist?  Why do we not see him as did his contemporaries, that is, as the new Michelangelo?  Do we no longer value the ease with which Bernini solved technical problems?  Are we suspicious of Bernini’s apparent denial of the inanimate nature of stone?  Does this artist define what is Baroque or is he the culmination of what the Renaissance sought to achieve?

ARTH 470Z:  Venice (3) 

This course meets the following requirements:  Writing Intensive, Global Inquiry, and satisfies an elective requirement in Museum Studies. Part of the work for this course includes creating an online exhibit on the city of Venice.

In this course we will examine Venetian art and culture from the foundation of the city in the 5th and 6th centuries through today. The lagoon and islands of the city will hold our attention for the first several meetings as we explore geography, politics, business, and urban issues that are particular to Venice. We will then turn to the artists whose works define the city for art historians, including the following from the fifteenth through eighteenth centuries: the Bellini family, Giorgione, Titian, Veronese, Tintoretto, and the Tiepolo family. We will also consider twentieth-century and contemporary artists, both Italian and non-Italian, who were so influenced by this city, including J.M.W. Turner, J. A. McN. Whistler, J. S. Sargent, F. L. Wright, and Carlo Scarpa.

491, 492 – Individual Study in Art History (with approval)

499 – Internship (with approval)

 CLASSICS

 380 – Archaeology of the Greek and Roman World (3) Prereq: ARTH 114 or Classics 103 or Classics 105.  Overview of the history of Greek and Roman archaeology; techniques of excavation, cataloging, and conservation; and ethics, global issues, and sensitivities classical archaeologists face.

491, 492 – Individual Study in Classical Civilization (with approval)

499 – Internship (with approval)

 HISTORIC PRESERVATION

 200 – Introduction to Museum Studies (3) Survey of the history, philosophy, and management of history museums, including curatorship and public interpretation.

 208 – Introduction to Conservation (3) Overview of conservation as a specialized professional discipline, including the field’s history, ethics, and common practices for documentation, stabilization, analysis, and treatment.

 303 – Archives and Society (3) Examination of the theory and practice of archival work, including the preservation, organization, and cataloging of manuscript collections.

313 – Education and Interpretation in Museums and Historic Sites (3) Prereq: HISP200 or ARTH315. The job of museum curators and educators is to provide interpretation and context for the objects and information put on display or websites.  These professionals are charged with guiding museums and historic sites in the choosing of objects, crafting the stories the objects can tell, and determining the best means of communicating these stories.  This course will provide an overview of this process and will consider the general connections in the interpretive and educational aspects of all types of museums.  We will examine object-based history, the successes and pitfalls of the public presentation of history, and the relationship between educational theory and practice.

320 – American Forms and Values (3) Interpretation and analysis of material culture in pre-industrial and modern American societies, with emphasis on research perspectives and methods.

323 – Heritage Tourism (3) Heritage Tourism defines the modern market-centered approach to Historic Preservation. This seminar explores the larger issues that surround the evolving concepts of tourism—from the 19th century view embodied in Charles M. Doughty’s Travels in Arabia Deserta to heritage corridors and theme parks. Implicit in “heritage tourism” is the experience of interactions with people different than ourselves, not for their heroic qualities, but for their knowledge, values and aesthetic shared among the people of a community or culture and embodied in their artifacts. The personal automobile and the democratization of leisure time transformed the tourist experience from an idle of the wealthy, to a passion of the working classes. As a multi-disciplinary study, Historic Preservation has staked its reputation with the public on the authenticity of its results. This seminar seeks to explore the formulas for presenting and representing heritage in an authentic experience to the public as crucial to our role as mediators between the objects of the past and the recreation industry that seeks to employ heritage as a tourism engine

463 – Laboratory in Museum Design and Interpretation (3) Prerequisite: HISP 200 and permission of instructor.  Examination of the principles of museum exhibit design and interpretation, including participation in exhibit preparation.

471 – Special Studies in Historic Preservation

471TT:  Museum Collections Management (3) This class focuses on the principles and practices of developing, exhibiting, and caring for collections.  The first part of the class will cover the larger cultural and intellectual perspective necessary for identifying collections needs, developing an effective collection, and exhibiting artifacts from the collection.  The second part will focus on practical issues of managing the collection, from accessioning to de-accessioning, and will include training in the use of Past Perfect software and Nomenclature.  Examples and discussion will be drawn primarily from the fields of history and art, although we will also cover the anthropological aspect of natural history museums.  As a 400 level class, students will be expected to engage with the readings and participate in class discussions.  It will also include opportunities for hands-on and individual experience in both the curatorial and managerial aspects of collections.

 471YY: Grant Writing (3) This course is on overview of the basic principles and practices of grant writing, including needs assessment, identifying potential funding sources, creating goals, and identifying assessment plans. Students will write real grant proposals for local non-profit organizations to be further submitted to funding agencies. Prerequisites for this class are HISP 200 or ARTH 317.

491: Individual Study in Historic Preservation (with approval)

499: Internship (with approval)

HISTORY

300W – The World of James Monroe (3). This course will teach students how to use objects and archival materials to do history, in this case the history of the early American republic.  This era, from roughly 1780 to 1830, was the time when Americans developed their own political and cultural identities.  James Monroe had a hand in many of the defining debates of this era, and UMW has a rich collection of his and his family’s personal objects and letters.  Monroe’s materials will serve as a jumping off point for exploring various topics in the history of this pivotal era in American history.

428 – Digital History (3) Prereq: HIST 297 and HIST 298, or with permission of instructor.  This seminar will focus on the process of creating digital history. The course readings, workshops, and discussions expose students to the philosophy and practice of the emerging field of History and New Media. The course will be centered on the creation of four digital history projects, all of which are related to making local resources available online.  This course was formerly HIST 471C3.

 471– Special Studies in History

491 – Individual Study (with approval)

499 – Internship (with approval)