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Your Ultimate Guide to Museum Studies: Careers and Courses

BrainGain magazine brings you the best courses in Museum Studies and the career options that can open up after.
BY Mehal Yadav |   30-06-2016

Museum studies, or Museology, is the study of museums. It covers ideas and issues which range from acquiring the skills needed to administer museums, to understanding the role and contribution of museums in broader society.

Unlike what the characters from the popular TV sitcom Friends would like you to believe, a degree in Museum Studies doesn’t necessarily limit you to the interiors of a museum. Instead, as Ross kept on insisting, working in a museum opens up a kaleidoscopic world – you can master disciplines like conservation, art, history, exhibition, culture, artifacts, science, nature and civilization. Needless to say, it allows for a variety of career choices.

Here are some of them:

  1. Museum Curator: The person who manages or oversees the affairs of the museum. Of course, the term can be applied to any cultural heritage institution.  The curator also represents the museum in acquisition of historically significant artifacts and their interpretation. In addition, curators also work with the museum’s board of directors and are directly involved in fundraising and public relations.
  2. Museum Technicians and Conservators: They are involved in the restoration, maintenance, and preparation of objects that are displayed in the museum. They also actively participate in the storage, research and exhibit departments. Also, they help in identifying and categorizing the various artifacts. 
  3. Historians: Museums employ historians to research and analyze past records, which include text, pictures and artifacts. They do this in an attempt to understand the past.
  4. Archivists:  Archives are collections or records of materials that have historical, cultural, artistic or scientific significance. To study their purpose, asses their value, interpret the given documents and explain their context is the job of museum archivists. Archivists categorize and manage all this material and try to find similar links. Museum archivists are generally responsible to provide a narrative behind the exhibits and artifacts.

With a growing number of career options and increased awareness about the consequence of interpreting our origins and civilization, Museology has turned out to be a pretty popular choice among students. So, a lot of universities offer courses in the field. Some of them are given below:

  1. Arizona State University: The Herberger Institute School of Art in the Arizona State University offers a bachelors in Museum Studies which heavily focuses on management.
  2. John Hopkins University: Offers a program in Museums and Society, which aims to promote the study of culture, as well as the economic and educational significance of cultural institutions in the society.
  3. Harvard University: Harvard offers a certificate course in Museum Studies that can be completed at the student’s pace in a maximum of 3 years. It intends to make students aware of what makes a successful museum practitioner who constantly strives to find new possibilities to keep cultural heritage institutions relevant.
  4. Tufts University: Tufts offers a Museum Studies program which combines the understanding of innovative technology that can be used in museums, with a deep knowledge of related issues and trends.
  5. San Francisco State University: SF State University offers an MA in Museum Studies. Its detailed course syllabus focuses on responsiveness to the ever changing landscape of the field.
  6. Florida State University: Florida State University offers an MA in Museum and Cultural Heritage Studies, which provides theoretical and practical knowledge of the field through exhibitions, activities, fieldwork and internships.


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