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Courses in Museum Studies

The formal program includes four core courses (Anthro 720-723) and one elective (Anthro 724), for a total of 15 credits. The elective may be taken at any time, preferably after completion of 721. There are a number of courses available at UWM in various departments that would satisfy the elective requirement. The elective must have relevance to the field of museum studies and must be approved by the Museum Studies Program staff and the student's advisor before the student enrolls in the course. Each of the core courses requires attendance at one workshop during the semester.

Required Courses

720 - History and Theory of Museums (Fall Semester)
This course introduces the student to a wide range of topics and challenges in the museum field such as governance, ethics, collections, exhibition, research, education, marketing, and development. Sessions also include discussions on topical issues and lectures by individuals in the museum profession as well as assignments in the Milwaukee Public Museum and other local museums.

721 - Administration and Organization of Museums (Spring Semester)
Three themes run through this course: management and administration, organizational structure, and the qualities and skills required of leaders of museums. Each of these course components includes a focus on discussing the changing nature of museums in the 21st century, guest presentations from regional museum leaders, and course projects focused on strategic planning and the museum accreditation process. Prerequisite: Anthropology 720.

722 - Museum Exhibits (Spring Semester)
This course explores the history, techniques, and methods of exhibit work. The focus is to provide practical experience in the development of a temporary exhibit from beginning to end. The skills and methods the student acquires in this course, invaluable in any size museum, include exhibit planning, research, object selection, label writing, design, construction, and installation techniques. This is a lab course and will require additional time outside of the scheduled classes. Prerequisite: Anthropology 723.

723 - Museum Curation (Fall Semester)
Basic knowledge and skills for curating and managing museum collections including methods and techniques used are covered in this course. Topics include collections registration and documentation, risk management and insurance concerns, disaster planning, packing/shipping, and preventive conservation topics such as artifact handling, monitoring the museum environment, and pest management. Prerequisite: Anthropology 721.

Workshops

Workshops taught by working museum professionals on a variety of topics are designed to supplement the Museum Studies core courses. Subjects may include grant writing; photography; label writing; the care of specific materials--textiles, glass, paper, ceramics, etc.; and other topics as determined each year. Workshops may be field trips with focused discussion. At least two workshops are presented each semester. Scheduling of the workshop depends upon the instructor, and may include evenings and weekends. Generally, they run from three to six hours, may be spread over two days, and some workshops may require homework time. One workshop may be replaced by a Concentrated Internship. Previous Museum Studies students and others may take the workshops for a small fee.

Options For Fifth Course

Although most students elect to fulfill this course requirement with an internship, courses related to museum studies are offered by a variety of departments at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. History, Art History, Art, Anthropology and Educational Psychology all offer courses that supplement the Museum Studies Program curriculum and fulfill the required elective.

724 - Internship in Museum Studies (Each Semester)
An internship is the most effective way of gaining in-depth practical experience in a chosen subfield of museum studies. Even though the program stresses curatorial and collections work, it also provides opportunities through internships to specialize in other areas such as education or marketing. To register for Anthropology 724, the student must obtain written approval from the sponsoring museum and the UWM Museum Studies Coordinator. Students have completed internships in various sections of the Milwaukee Public Museum as well as in museums across the state, country, and internationally. There are over 200 museums in the state of Wisconsin and 40 museums within a 50-mile radius of Milwaukee, which provide students with a wide variety of internship possibilities.

Museum Studies Elective Courses

There are a number of elective courses offered at UWM that may be of interest to students enrolled in the Museum Studies Certificate Program. If you are interested in taking any of these courses, please contact the professors or departments directly for more information about the course content.