Museum Studies Program at UGA Offers Insight into Museum Field

Available at the Georgia Museum of Art blog.

When I began my internship at the Georgia Museum of Art, I realized that I’d never even considered how it was that people got into the museum field. I am studying journalism, so this was definitely not a direct path for me. As I dug further into the world of museum studies, I discovered that the University of Georgia now offers a certificate in the discipline. For anyone interested in working in museums — whether they be related to art, history, science or anything else — this is a program I would highly recommend checking out.

Did you know that museums contribute $21 billion to the U.S. economy every year? This highly competitive field employs hundreds of thousands of Americans and serves as a critical part in the development of many communities across the nation.

The Interdisciplinary Undergraduate Certificate Program in Museum Studies aims to give students a general overview of the origin and history of museums, as well as background in the national and international standards that museums are expected to uphold, which includes museum theory, methodology and practice required to create and maintain a museum. UGA’s program focuses especially on museum ethics, multiculturalism and the ways in which a museum works within a community.

The program is also useful for those who may not wish to work in a museum but plan to enter a field in which the use of museums would be important. These people could range from educators to travel agents to scientists. Very few fields have absolutely no use for museums, and outside of the workplace, most people find them an entertaining and enriching activity.

The certificate can be obtained by any student of the University of Georgia, undergraduate or graduate. It consists of 16 credit hours, approximately the length of a traditional minor program, and dictates only 7 of those hours with required courses; the remaining are at the choice of the student to seek the path in which he or she is most interested. The required foundational courses include Introduction to Museum Studies, a museum internship and a capstone course. Elective classes include the disciplines of anthropology, art history, historic preservation, history, landscape architecture and textiles, merchandising and interiors.

For those interested, you may contact Akela Reason, associate professor of history. She is available in LeConte Hall, via phone at (706) 542-2053 or via email at areason@uga.edu.

Still unsure if this is the right path for you? Try an internship at the Georgia Museum of Art! Internships are offered in curatorial work, as well as development, design and preparation, education, registrarial, special events, publications and public relations. These internships are available to students who are rising juniors, seniors and graduate students and offer wonderful opportunities to experience the day-to-day life of working in a museum and develop relationships and contacts with current employees.

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