Intro to Archives (2 spots)
This course provides an introductory overview of the archival profession. Students develop an understanding of the historical development of the field of archives and engage with current issues, trends, and theories that are shaping the profession. Students also consider the role of the archivist and the use of archives and historical collections by a range of users and become familiar with the theoretical considerations that underlie the core functions of archival administration. The course explores the legal and ethical responsibilities of archivists, as well as the codes of conduct that have been developed and debated within the profession. Students gain an understanding of how new technologies and digital records are shaping the way that archivists do their work and the skills they must develop to perform core archival functions with digital records.
Digital Humanities: Collections and Connections
This is one of two non-sequential survey courses in the Digital Humanities (the other, DH: Analysis and Visualization, is usually offered by the Center for Experimental Humanities in the spring) that consider questions and technologies fundamental to modes of academic inquiry made possible by new media and computational methods. While the two courses will cover different sets of technologies and digital practices, both will consider how we make our work public via digital platforms that provide rhetorical and design flexibility in making intellectual arguments.
Intro to Public History (2 spots)
Marie Ellen Noonan
This course provides an introductory overview to the public history field in its diverse venues and manifestations. Through intensive reading, discussion, and writing, students consider how the field of public history came into being and how it has evolved; where and how history is made and consumed; and the intersections and collisions of academic history with commemoration and popular history-making.
Local and Community History (2 spots)
This course explores the scholarly literature and practices of local history and of community history with a focus on New York City (with some arm-chair traveling to other locations). By reading some of the formative histories of different communities, we will examine the changing nature of “local” and of “community” given the evolving historical interpretations of ethnicity, race, gender, and sexuality. We will relate the scholarly literature to the practice of public history by evaluating the interpretation at various historical sites. Together, we will investigate how and why local and community history remain compelling and relevant today.
Creating Digital History (2 spots)
Leah Yale Potter
A hands-on introduction to “doing history” in the digital age, this course focuses on the evolving methodologies and tools used by public historians to collect, preserve, and present digital sources. Students will become familiar with a range of web-based tools and learn best practices for digitizing, adding metadata, tagging, and clearing permissions. By evaluating existing digital history projects and discussing perspectives from leading practitioners, students will also consider the role of the general public as both audiences for, and co-creators of, digital history. The core requirement is a collaborative digital history project that will be developed throughout the semester on a selected historical theme.
Museum Studies Course Descriptions
History and Theory of Museums (MSMS-GA 1500) Ayers, Franz. 4 points.
Introduction to the social, cultural, and political history of museums. This course focuses on the formation of the modern museum with an emphasis on the US context. Museums of Natural History, Anthropology, Science, Technology, History, and Art will be addressed from a variety of disciplinary approaches that explore the institution and its practices with respect to governance, colonialism, nationalism, class, gender, ethnicity, and community. Weekly visits to New York museums are required, along with frequent reading response papers, an exhibition review, and a final paper.
Museum Collections and Exhibitions (MSMS-GA 1501) Gear. 4 points.
An introduction and practical guide to the policies, procedures and current debates in museum collection and exhibition management. Sessions include presentations by museum directors, collections managers, registrars, curators, budget officers, interpretation managers, and exhibition directors and conservators. Course requirements include two individual reports, one on a collection and the second on an exhibition, and two team presentations, one an acquisition or de-accession proposal, and the second an exhibition proposal. A premium is placed on contributions to class discussions and Q&A with the speakers and the instructor. A class visit for instruction on condition reporting and two museum collection storage tours are a feature of this course scheduled during museum working hours and not during the hours of this course.
Development, Fund-raising, and Grantsmanship: Funding the 21st Century Museum (MSMS-GA 2221) Warwick. 4 points.
In the 21st century museums worldwide need creative fundraising to survive. This course provides a comprehensive overview of museum fundraising practices and an introduction to the skills and processes necessary for effective fundraising. Focusing in particular on the funding environment in the USA – but referencing other international models – topics covered include an overview of sources of funding and types of fundraising (capital campaign; planned giving, benefit events etc.) and a survey of procedures for identifying available funds. Invited guests from a range of museum environments will discuss examples of successful fundraising. Students will complete various examples of fundraising approach (individual solicitations and grant requests, for example) and a comprehensive fundraising strategy for a museum project of their choice.
Museum Education (MSMS-GA 2224) Vatsky. 4 points.
This seminar provides an overview of the field of Museum Education. Museum Education is considered in the context of the institution’s relationship to its multiple constituent communities, with application to a broad range of audiences. Among the topics to be considered are learning strategies, teaching from objects, program planning and assessment, and exhibition interpretation.
Museums and Interactive Technologies (MSMS-GA 2225) Flouty. 4 points.
The course will present a survey and analysis of museum use of interactive technologies. Among the topics to be discussed in detail are strategies and tools for collections management, exhibitions, educational resources and programs, website design, digitization projects, and legal issues arising from the use of these technologies. Each student will develop an interactive project in an area of special interest.
Museums and Community (MSMS-GA 2228) Flouty. 4 points.
We have witnessed a rise in civic engagement and social justice programming in museums today. Community, history, and fine arts museums now include civic activism, community participation, and community organizing in their mission and core activities. A movement toward civic engagement and social justice manifests in all aspects of museum practice, including exhibition, education, and collections care. In this seminar, we investigate the theoretical underpinnings of these programs along with their practical implementation and evaluation. We assess museum activism in the context of inequality and racism within the museum itself and community resistance against museums. Students build an understanding of community programming in the context of current literature on the museum in the public sphere, the museum as contact zone, placemaking, and museum ethics. Guest speakers address community-based programming, including the logistics of program development, program evaluation, and program website design. The seminar combines project-based learning with reading, discussion, and writing about theory that motivates and critiques community-based museum programming. Students choose their own final projects. Options include assessing an existing community-based museum program, designing a new museum-based program and developing its website, and writing a seminar paper.
Heritage, Memory and Negotiating Temporalities (MSMS-GA 2229) Anderson. 4 points.
What is heritage, how is it produced and to what extent does it (re)arrange relationships between time, memory and identity? How do some heritages come to be memorialized and institutionalized and others excluded and rendered peripheral? This seminar will cover the historical development of the concept of heritage as well as exploring the genesis of international heritage administration, charters, conventions, and national heritage laws. It will highlight emerging trends and practices including exploring the concept of “social memory” and contrast it with the more formalized techniques of heritage didactics and curation. We will explore the increasing interest in “bottom-up” heritage programming that directly involves the general public in the formulation, collection, and public presentation of historical themes and subjects as an ongoing social activity. Case studies from different regions and social contexts will be explored: “conflicted heritage,” “minority heritage,” “indigenous heritage,” “diasporic heritage,” “sites of conscience,” long-term community planning and involvement in “eco-museums”, the relationship between heritage, development and tourism and public heritage interpretation centers. Students will be asked to address specific problems in sites or organizations presented during the course and will formulate socio-interpretive assessments of projects or research of their choosing in the U.S. or abroad.
Museums and Contemporary Art (MSMS-GA 3335) Altshuler. 4 points.
This course investigates historical, theoretical, and practical aspects of the collecting and exhibiting of contemporary art in museums. Topics include curatorial strategies for exhibition and collection development, the international biennial system, relations between museums and the art market, conservation issues, artworks that take the museum as subject, public and relational art, exhibitions curated by artists, and exhibitions combining historical and contemporary art. Assignments include two short essays, class presentations, and a final paper.
Research in Museum Studies (MSMS-GA 2944) Altshuler. 1-4 points.
Independent research on a topic determined in consultation with the program director.
Internship (MSMS-GA 3990) Required of all MA and Advanced Certificate candidates. Flouty. 2 points.
M.A. and Advanced Certificate students spend a minimum of 300 hours over one or more semesters in a project-oriented internship at a museum or other suitable institution. Students nearing completion of course prerequisites (MSMS-GA 1500, MSMS-GA 1501, and MSMS-GA 1502) must schedule a planning meeting with the Program's Internship Coordinator. A daily log, evaluations, and progress report are required. Students must earn a grade of B or better to receive the M.A. or Advanced Certificate. Further information is available in the Internship Guidelines Packet.
Research Seminar (MSMS-GA 3991) Required of all MA and Advanced Certificate candidates. Basilio, Ayers, Franz. 2 points.
This course includes candidates for both the Advanced Certificate and the M.A. in Museum Studies. The class is designed to help students identify a research question, navigate relevant primary and secondary sources, and produce a well-written, well-organized research paper at the end of the term. For those in the Advanced Certificate program, the course will focus on a final 30-page (double-spaced) Museum Studies research paper. M.A. students will focus on writing an introduction and one chapter of a master’s thesis.
The research seminar provides students with a collective structure and series of deadlines as they develop individual research projects. Students will be responsible for their own research and writing, as well as thoughtful reading and comments in writing groups.
For M.A. Students:
We will assign writing groups in the Research Seminar, and we strongly encourage you to maintain these groups or form new groups as you write your thesis during the spring semester.
Students will be assigned individual thesis advisors in October. You will meet with your advisor before the end of the fall semester to establish a working plan for the winter break and spring semester. You are responsible for sending your Abstract, Annotated Bibliography, and Outline to your advisor before this meeting. You will also send the Introduction and Thesis Chapter to your advisor after completion in December.