Course Descriptions (GSAS Bulletin)

Required Courses

History and Theory of Museums
MSMS-GA 1500  Thorner, VonBokel. 4 points. 2015-16, 2016-17
Introduction to the social and political history, and theory of museums. This course focuses on the formation of a variety of museums from a diversity of
disciplinary perspectives and analyzes questions surrounding governance, nationalism, identity, and community. The requirements include frequent visits to museums, short writing assignments, and a final research paper.

Museum Collections and Exhibitions
MSMS-GA 1501  Gear. 4 points. 2015-16, 2016-17
This course covers museum collections management and the organization of exhibitions. There are arranged visits to the storage collections of the American Museum of Natural History and the Guggenheim Museum, among others.
Guest speakers are curators, a registrar and a conservator. Assignments consist of individual reports and team projects.

Museum Management
MSMS-GA 1502  Schwartz, Weisser. 4 points. 2015-16, 2016-17
Overview of management, finance, and administration. Topics covered include organizational structure and the roles and relationships of museum departments; operational issues, including security and disaster planning; museum accounting and finance, including operating and capital expense budgeting; leadership and strategic planning; and legal and ethical issues facing museums.

MSMS-GA 3990  Required of all M.A. and advanced certificate candidates. Staff. 2 points. 2015-16, 2016-17
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. A daily log, evaluations, and progress report are required.

Research Seminar
MSMS-GA 3991  Required of all M.A. and advanced certificate candidates. Basilio, Wharton. 2 points. 2015-16, 2016-17
Students conduct research combining their academic and professional interests, using appropriate methodology. They formulate a topic, prepare an annotated bibliography, and write the qualifying paper based on their research. M.A. students also develop their thesis proposal.


Topics in Museum Studies
MSMS-GA 3330  4 points.
Current issues in the museum profession and the interdisciplinary study of museums. Outside museum scholars, specialists, and university faculty offer in-depth examination of topics. Among the topics offered in recent years have been, Anthropology in and of Museums, Exhibition History, Creating a Memorial Museum, Curating as Collaboration, Museums and Political Conflict, Museums and the Law, Challenges for Art Museum Curators Today, and The Museum Life of Contemporary Art. Practicums with hands-on components also are offered periodically under this course number. (Refer to the current course schedule for particular seminars offered in each academic year.)

Research in Museum Studies
MSMS-GA 3915  1-4 points. 2013-14, 2014-15.
Independent research on a topic determined in consultation with the program director.

Development, Fund-Raising, and Grantsmanship: Funding the 21st Century Museum 
MSMS-GA 2221  Warwick. 4 points. 2015-16, 2016-17
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.

Conservation and Collections Management  
MSMS-GA 2222  Wharton. 4 points. 2015-16, 2016-17
This seminar combines classroom discussion with museum visits to provide an understanding of preventive care, collections conservation, and collections management. It covers the historical and philosophical drive to preserve cultural objects for the future, and value conflicts that arise between professionals and non-professionals with stakes in how material culture is exhibited. The seminar addresses concerns of living artists as well as indigenous groups and others with claims to the disposition and care of cultural materials. It also covers collections management policies and procedures, including environmental management, disaster management, and collections documentation. Students perform condition assessments and conduct research leading to short writing assignments and a term paper.

Historic Sites, Cultural Landscapes, and the Politics of Preservation
MSMS-GA 2223  VonBokel. 4 points. 2015-16, 2016-17
This course will examine the cultural politics that influence reuse of historic spaces for museums and other public purposes. Through course readings, site visits and individual archival research, students will explore sites ranging from historic houses and period rooms presented as museum installations to restored villages and communities to dramatic reuse of historic space for cultural tourism. Students will pay particular attention to the social and political contexts in which original use and subsequent reuse took place, and analyze primary documents that illustrate both motivations and strategies for interpretation.

Museum Education
MSMS-GA 2224  Crow. 4 points. 2015-16, 2016-17
This seminar provides an overview of the field of museum education in the context of the institution’s relationship with constituent communities and with application to a broad range of audiences. Among the topics considered are teaching from objects, learning strategies, working with docents and volunteers, program planning, and the educational use of interactive technologies.

Museums and Interactive Technologies
MSMS-GA 2225  Flouty. 4 points. 2015-16, 2016-17
This course presents a survey and analysis of museum use of interactive technologies. Among the topics discussed in detail are strategies and tools for collections management, exhibitions, educational resources and programs, Web site design, digitization projects, and legal issues arising from the use of these technologies. Each student develops an interactive project in an area of special interest.

Exhibition Planning and Design
MSMS-GA 3332  Staff. 4 points. 2015-16, 2016-17 This course focuses on the planning, development, and design of exhibitions, permanent, temporary, and traveling. It is a participatory class where students learn basic exhibition design techniques, including spatial layouts and the use of graphics, audiovisual aids, lighting, colors, materials, and fabrication methods. There are visits to designers to discuss their work and to museums to analyze exhibition design techniques. Individual student projects provide hands-on experience.

Museums and Contemporary Art
MSMS-GA 3335  Altshuler. 4 points. 2015-16, 2016-17
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, biennialism, the art market, conservation issues, artworks that take the museum as subject, public and relational art, and conflicts of interest that arise for museum staff and trustees. A familiarity with international contemporary art is required. Assignments include two short essays, class presentations, and a final paper.