Nick Malzahn

Concentrations/Minors: BA Anthropology, Minor in Museum Studies and Global Media Studies

 

Why did you decide to pursue the museum studies minor?
I first got interested when I took a class about the world of museums. I heard about the program at the end of my sophomore year and it just sounded interesting. I decided to take the first class and see how it went from there. Museums 301 opened me to so many ideas I hadn’t thought of before. In fact, I eventually began to think that this is something I may may want to do with the rest of my life.

How did the museum studies minor impact your other fields of study?
The minor has definitely impacted my anthropology major. Museums are cultural institutions! I actually did my honors thesis on the Charles Wright Museum and my thesis really mixed anthropology and museum studies. They went hand in hand.

What was your favorite class that you took for the minor requirements and why?
My favorite class was the Museums 401 on the changing role of the curator taught by Nancy Bryk. The class talked about curators and museums in general, and really helped me think more about my potential future in curatorial work and how so many things have changed for curators. Museums are evolving and curators are becoming more open to working with other people and not just being stuffy.

Which museums has the minor led you to be involved in?
Beside the Charles Wright Museum and the MSU museum, I have also been involved in the Henry Ford Museum. When I was there, I looked through old postcards for the reinvention of an exhibit. It was my job to pick out postcards that had interesting messages on them that would contribute to the story line of the exhibit. I am also working at the Detroit Zoo doing research with the animal welfare department, which has been a unique look at museums from the living collections side of things.

How do you feel your life at the university and beyond has been and will be affected by pursuing a museum studies minor?
It’s affected me quite a bit! At the university, my whole thesis revolved around museums and I started looking for aspects of museums in other classes I was taking. Plus the minor gave me a good idea on what I want to do in graduate school and for my career. I think I want to be a curator, but I want to get more experience.

Why would you recommend a student to pursue a museum studies minor?
If a student is interested in any sort of cultural department, then I definitely recommend the minor. It’s interdisciplinary. Even if you’re interested in science, there are science centers and zoos, which are museums. Bringing a museum studies minor to the table will give you a better perspective on the whole. Anything can be in a museum. I don’t think it matters what you major in.

Where do you see museums fitting into your future?
As a profession, definitely and hopefully. I see it being a big part of my life. It just seems so welcoming and I could never get bored with museums.