Museum Studies is a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary field that encompasses museum theory and scholarly research and practice. Museums serve a significant role in popular culture and the construction of national and ethnic identities through the collection and curation of art, artifacts, and other works of cultural production. As educational authorities on history and culture, they serve as sites of inclusion and access as well as contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of different cultures and diverse peoples. At NAU, the Museum Studies program curriculum examines many kinds of museums and cultural heritage sites as well as incorporates study of collection, display, and education in libraries, archives, and galleries. Our courses feature experiential learning opportunities through hands-on projects and presentations by professionals working in museums and for other cultural heritage organizations. Contact Program Coordinator Dr. Becky Pratt-Sturges for more information about pursuing a focus or minor in Museum Studies.
Students in the Museum Studies program take several core courses as well as electives from fields such as History, English, Anthropology, Archaeology, Art History, Public Humanities, Marketing, Visual Communication, Comparative Study of Religions, Parks & Recreation, Geographic Information Systems, Computer Science, and others. Core courses include MST 250 Museum Studies, HUM 195 Applied Humanities, HUM 395 Digital Humanities, MST/CCS 408 Internship/Field Study, MST 450 The Museum in Theory and Practice, and MST 460 Topics in Museum Studies (topics include Contemporary Curatorial Practice, Fakes, Forgeries, Frauds and Thefts, the History of Collecting, Repatriation & Restitution and others).
Students who pursue a focus in Museum Studies will gain the following skills:
Critical thinking Accordion Closed
Graduates with a focus in Museum Studies will know how to assess the validity of arguments, evidence, and conclusions in scholarship within the field as well as adjacent disciplines such as public humanities, archival science, library science, and others. They will have learned and have demonstrated skills in analyzing how museums have shaped both past and present communities as well as the abilities to interpret, manage, and display data and objects. Graduates will also learn how to conduct research, apply research to interpret data, objects, and artifacts for a public audience.
Effective writing Accordion Closed
Graduates with a focus in Museum Studies will know how to articulate a thesis, provide comprehensive analysis of evidence, employing a variety of methods, and offer well-grounded conclusions in a variety of professionally-executed projects designed for public audiences. Museum Studies students will be able to apply these skills to fundamental types of museum writing including but not limited to as digital sites, digital and physical exhibitions, exhibition proposal, interpretative didactics, and curatorial statements.
Interdisciplinarity Accordion Closed
Graduates with a focus in Museum Studies will be able to verbally articulate aspects of visual and textual rhetoric employed in the collection, interpretation, and display of data and objects. They will also be able to apply interdisciplinary methods fundamental to scholarly work in Museum Studies but also art history, public humanities, archival science, and digital humanities.
Comparative cultural awareness Accordion Closed
Museum Studies graduates will gain an awareness of, and respect for, differing cultural viewpoints. Graduates will have learned that global perspectives influence the creation and reception of collections, exhibitions, and education in galleries, libraries, archives, and museums and will be able to articulate how differing perspectives are manifest in the representation of diverse cultures within these institutions.