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Museum Studies

Chair

  • James Enloe (International Programs/Anthropology)

Coordinator

  • Russell Ciochon (Pediatric Dentistry/Anthropology)

Affiliated faculty

  • Tiffany Adrain (Anthropology/Earth and Environmental Sciences), Shalla Ashworth (Anthropology), David McCartney (Anthropology/History), Trina Roberts (Anthropology), William Thomson (Anthropology), Sean Ulmer (Anthropology)
Undergraduate certificate: museum studies
Web site: http://www.uiowa.edu/~mstudies/

Museum studies has a long history at The University of Iowa, with courses offered continuously since 1910. Iowa's museum studies students have become directors, curators, educators, and exhibit specialists in museums throughout the country.

Museums embrace every aspect of human experience. Iowa's Museum Studies Program reflects this multiplicity, offering courses related to many fields, including American studies, anthropology and archaeology, art, biology, business, communication studies, elementary and secondary education, English, world languages, geoscience, history, library and information science, and leisure studies. 

Instructors for museum studies courses reflect the program's interdisciplinary nature. They include faculty members from anthropology, art and art history, business, history, law, library and information science, and other related fields. The University archivist for University of Iowa Libraries is an affiliated faculty member of the Museum Studies Program, as are the collections management specialists for the University's Museum of Natural History and Old Capitol Museum.

The Museum Studies Program is administered by the Department of Anthropology.

Undergraduate Program of Study

  • Certificate in Museum Studies

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences students who are interested in museum studies may earn the certificate, or they may use the individualized plan of study track in the interdepartmental studies major to create a museum studies concentration relevant to their academic and professional interests.

Certificate

The Certificate in Museum Studies requires 18 s.h. The program provides a broad foundation of knowledge increasingly valued in the museum field.

The certificate is open to current University of Iowa undergraduate students and to all individuals who hold a bachelor's degree and are not enrolled in a graduate or professional degree program. Completion of the certificate is noted on the student's transcript.

Museum studies courses introduce students to the spectrum of museum endeavors, from organization and mission planning to institutional histories and current developments in the field. Most courses developed by the program offer hands-on experience in exhibition planning and design, collection management, educational programming, community development, and administration.

A major in one of the natural sciences (e.g., biology, geoscience), anthropology, science education, art history, American studies, or history is recommended for students preparing for museum careers.

Students may count a maximum of 6 s.h. completed for a major, a minor, or another certificate offered by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences toward the Certificate in Museum Studies.

Work for the certificate consists of an introductory course, a minimum of four courses on specific museum studies topics, and an internship. Students must request permission from the coordinator of the museum studies certificate to use courses that are not included in the program, and the proposed course content and requirements must fit into one of the program's defined areas.

Students must maintain a g.p.a. of at least 2.00 in work for the certificate.

The Certificate in Museum Studies requires the following course work.

Introductory Course

Students should begin the certificate with 024:102 (MUSM:3001) Introduction to Museum Studies, which is prerequisite to some of the program's more advanced courses and is approved for the Social Sciences area of the General Education Program. The course provides a historical overview of museum development and function while introducing students to issues such as museum governance and financing, ethics and law, collection management, exhibition and educational programming, interpretation, and audience research.

024:102 (MUSM:3001) Introduction to Museum Studies3 s.h.
Museum Studies Topic Areas

Students complete a minimum of four courses in museum studies topic areas, choosing from the lists below. The areas are collection care and management; exhibition development and public education; history, theory, and culture; and museum administration and management. Students must select one course from each of three of the four topic areas (9 s.h. total), They also must complete a fourth course (3 s.h.) from any of the four topic areas.

Collection care and management:

024:103 (MUSM:3003) Natural History Research Collections3 s.h.
024:120 (MUSM:3200) Collection Care and Management3 s.h.
024:140 (MUSM:4200) Advanced Collection Care and Management3 s.h.
024:155 (MUSM:4900) Preservation and Conservation of Collection Materials3 s.h.
024:160 (MUSM:3060) Introduction to Archives and Manuscripts3 s.h.
024:190 (MUSM:3090) Topics in Museum Studies1 s.h.

Exhibition development and public education:

024:104 (MUSM:3004) Exhibition Planning3 s.h.
024:110 (MUSM:3110) Learning in Museums3 s.h.
024:121 (MUSM:4000) Power of Placement3 s.h.

History, theory, and culture:

024:106 (MUSM:3120) The Natural History Museum: A Museological History3 s.h.
024:115 (MUSM:4130) Museum Literacy and Historical Memory3 s.h.
024:124 (MUSM:3237) Politics of the Archaeological Past3 s.h.
024:162 (MUSM:4081) The Art Museum: Theory and Practice3 s.h.

Museum administration and management:

024:100 (MUSM:3100) Historic House Management and Preservation3 s.h.
024:147 (MUSM:3500) Nonprofit Organizational Effectiveness I3 s.h.
024:148 (MUSM:3600) Nonprofit Organizational Effectiveness II3 s.h.
024:181 (MUSM:3080) Marketing, Promoting, Politicking Contemporary Public Art3 s.h.
024:247 (MUSM:6010) Nonprofit Organizational Effectiveness I3 s.h.
024:248 (MUSM:6020) Nonprofit Organizational Effectiveness II3 s.h.
Museum Studies Internship

After completing the required course work above (15 s.h.), students must complete the following internship, earning a minimum of 3 s.h.

024:180 (MUSM:4080) Museum Internshiparr.

The Certificate in Museum Studies coordinator works closely with students and affiliated faculty members to ensure that the internship provides students with the instruction and experience they need.

Facilities and Resources

Museum studies students have access to a wide variety of museums and related resources, including the following University of Iowa museums: the Museum of Natural History, the Museum of Art, the Old Capitol Museum, the Medical Museum, and the Athletics Hall of Fame.

The Museum Studies Program maintains close connections with a number of local, community-based museums and organizations, including the State Historical Society of Iowa, the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, the African American Museum of Iowa, the Iowa Children’s Museum, and the Johnson County Historical Society.

The University of Iowa Collections Coalition, consisting of 19 collections and collection-support organizations, is an essential resource for the Museum Studies Program. It provides museum studies internships, directed study projects, opportunities for site visits, and volunteer experiences for students as well as guest speakers.

Courses

Introduction
 

024:102 (MUSM:3001) Introduction to Museum Studies3 s.h.
Overview of museum history, function, philosophy, collection, and curatorial practices; governance and funding issues; exhibition evaluation and audience studies; examples from Museum of Art, Museum of Natural History, Old Capitol Museum, and Medical Museum. GE: Social Sciences. Same as 07S:112 (EDTL:3001), 097:115 (SIED:3001), 113:103 (ANTH:3001).
 

Collection Care and Management
 

024:103 (MUSM:3003) Natural History Research Collections3 s.h.
Techniques, methods, and issues specific to natural history research collections; practice in preparing and cleaning specimens; role of natural history specimens in modern scientific research. Recommendations: basic understanding of the diversity of plants and animals and natural history museum collections, 002:031 (BIOL:1411) or 002:032 (BIOL:1412), and 024:102 (MUSM:3001) or 024:120 (MUSM:3200); or other experience.
 
024:120 (MUSM:3200) Collection Care and Management3 s.h.
How a museum's management policy relates to its administrative, legal, and ethical obligations to its collections; acquisitions, deaccessions, collection use, data standards, storage environment, health, safety, documentation. Same as 012:120 (GEOS:3200).
 
024:140 (MUSM:4200) Advanced Collection Care and Management3 s.h.
Builds on 024:120 (MUSM:3200); types of museum objects and materials, their care and management; care, storage, and use of paper, books, photographs, works of art, electronic information media, textiles, furniture, archaeological artifacts, natural history specimens, archives; digitization projects, integrated pest management, risk assessment, museum security, museum construction and renovation, grant writing; for students planning museum careers or for professions that require care of collections. Prerequisites: 012:120 (GEOS:3200) or 024:120 (MUSM:3200). Same as 012:160 (GEOS:4200).
 
024:155 (MUSM:4900) Preservation and Conservation of Collection Materials3 s.h.
Overview of responsible stewardship of library and archival collections; principles and practice of book conservation with focus on prototypes for conservation rebinding; appropriate care of books, papers, photographs (traditional and digital), film, and other non‑print items; fundamental instruction in methods of page repair, investigation of eight historical prototypes, construction of related conservation binding models; lecture, discussion, student presentation, and hands‑on activities. Prerequisites: 021:101 (SLIS:5010). Same as 021:150 (SLIS:4900).
 
024:160 (MUSM:3060) Introduction to Archives and Manuscripts3 s.h.
Purpose and function of archival repositories (as compared with libraries); professional responsibilities of archivists; theoretical basis of currently accepted practices; collection solicitation and development; appraisal of records and manuscripts; processing, or arrangement and description, of collections; archival preservation and conservation, including digital preservation; reference services; outreach efforts; current issues, including electronic records, privacy and copyright.
 
024:190 (MUSM:3090) Topics in Museum Studies1 s.h.
Systematic and analytic methods used for research in physical collections; tutorials in collection building, curation, and preservation; designed by members of the University of Iowa Collections Coalition. Same as 012:159 (GEOS:3090).
 

Exhibition Development and Public Education
 

024:104 (MUSM:3004) Exhibition Planning3 s.h.
Preliminary work for and process of developing museum exhibitions; history of exhibit design, evaluation, budgets, teams and team member roles, working with community and special interest groups, methods of production and display; students research a topic, choose artifacts and images, and create a narrative and exhibit script. Prerequisites: 024:102 (MUSM:3001).
 
024:110 (MUSM:3110) Learning in Museums3 s.h.
Introduction to theory and practice of learning in museums; identification of institutional objectives; goals that facilitate learning in museum setting; development of educational materials and programs. Prerequisites: 024:102 (MUSM:3001). Recommendations: good writing skills.
 
024:121 (MUSM:4000) Power of Placement3 s.h.
How placement of artworks in a setting and their relationship to each other affect the way viewers understand the works; influence of curator's choice of placement, sequence, height, wall color, and so forth; varied settings, with focus on display issues in art museums; includes gallery and museum experiences. Prerequisites: 024:102 (MUSM:3001).
 

History, Theory, and Culture
 

024:106 (MUSM:3120) The Natural History Museum: A Museological History3 s.h.
Study of the history of the natural history museum; origin, character and evolution, anecdotes and personalities, how natural history museums influenced society, their continuing relevance to a technological world. Recommendations: at least one course in museum studies, such as 024:102 (MUSM:3001).
 
024:115 (MUSM:4130) Museum Literacy and Historical Memory3 s.h.
Concepts and methods for understanding the role of museums in shaping knowledge and collective memory of history; institutionally based exhibits and collections, historical markers and public monuments, public holidays and events, media and artistic works that interpret the past; how events, people, and civic ambitions are memorialized and how memories of them are shaped; appearance of museums and related practices in the non‑Western world after 1850. Same as 016:120 (HIST:4130).
 
024:124 (MUSM:3237) Politics of the Archaeological Past3 s.h.
How control over management of material remains of the ancient past, and representations of that past, intersect with the identity of diverse groups, including archaeologists, indigenous peoples, national governments, collectors, ethnic minorities and majorities, museum curators; struggles for control of the archaeological past at different scales (artifacts, skeletal remains, sites, imagery, narratives) and in different regions of the world. Same as 113:124 (ANTH:3237).
 
024:162 (MUSM:4081) The Art Museum: Theory and Practice3 s.h.
Introduction to different aspects of art museums; emphasis on roles of art historians, especially curatorial practice; current and historical theories and practices of art exhibitions; varying debates of the politics of display; art museum professions; the many facets of art exhibition preparation; the University of Iowa Museum of Art collections. Same as 01H:181 (ARTH:4081).
 

Museum Administration and Management
 

024:100 (MUSM:3100) Historic House Management and Preservation3 s.h.
Management, preservation, interpretation, and basic operations of historic structures and the museums they serve. Prerequisites: 024:102 (MUSM:3001).
 
024:147 (MUSM:3500) Nonprofit Organizational Effectiveness I3 s.h.
Operational and financial aspects of nonprofit management; mission and governance of organization; strategic planning for effective management, including finance, budget, income generation, fund‑raising. Same as 06T:144 (ENTR:3595), 042:157 (SSW:3500), 096:168 (NURS:3595), 06J:147 (MGMT:3500), 032:127 (RELS:3700).
 
024:148 (MUSM:3600) Nonprofit Organizational Effectiveness II3 s.h.
Qualities for leadership of nonprofit organizations, including relationships with staff and volunteers; relationship of nonprofit and outside world; marketing, public relations, advocacy strategies for nonprofits. Same as 06J:148 (MGMT:3600), 096:169 (NURS:3600), 042:158 (SSW:3600), 032:128 (RELS:3701).
 
024:181 (MUSM:3080) Marketing, Promoting, Politicking Contemporary Public Art3 s.h.
How public art projects are conceived, created, and paid for; projects sponsored and funded by federal, state, and local governments and private businesses 1960 to present; projects' operational structures, how artists are selected; Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Serra's Tilted Arc, recent projects. Same as 01H:180 (ARTH:3080).
 
024:247 (MUSM:6010) Nonprofit Organizational Effectiveness I3 s.h.
Operational and financing aspects of nonprofit management; mission and governance of organization; strategic planning for effective management, including finance, budget, income generation, fund‑raising. Same as 021:263 (SLIS:6430), 06J:247 (MGMT:9150), 091:320 (LAW:8751), 174:247 (HMP:6360), 042:247 (SSW:6247), 102:278 (URP:6278), 028:257 (SPST:6010), 032:227 (RELS:6070).
 
024:248 (MUSM:6020) Nonprofit Organizational Effectiveness II3 s.h.
Qualities for leadership of nonprofit organizations, including relationships with staff and volunteers; relationship of nonprofit and outside world; marketing, public relations, advocacy strategies for nonprofits. Requirements: for 091:322 (LAW:8752)091:320 (LAW:8751); for 174:248 (HMP:6365)06J:247 (MGMT:9150) or 024:247 (MUSM:6010) or 174:247 (HMP:6360). Same as 06J:248 (MGMT:9160), 091:322 (LAW:8752), 021:265 (SLIS:6435), 042:248 (SSW:6248), 174:248 (HMP:6365), 102:279 (URP:6279), 028:258 (SPST:6020), 032:228 (RELS:6075).
 

Directed Studies and Internship
 

024:150 (MUSM:4050) Directed Studies and Projectsarr.
Advanced readings in historical development, educational philosophy, programs, operations of museums; individual projects coordinated with programs, exhibits, or collections of campus and area museums. Prerequisites: 024:102 (MUSM:3001) or 024:104 (MUSM:3004) or 024:120 (MUSM:3200).
 
024:180 (MUSM:4080) Museum Internshiparr.
Working experience in functions, departments, programs of the sponsoring museum; relation to museum's overall mission and museum field in general.