Museum Studies Program Departmental Information

The Museum Studies Program was established in 2002. The program offers an undergraduate minor through the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, and a graduate certificate through the Rackham School of Graduate Studies.

Museums have changed dramatically in the last few decades. Today's museums are dynamic institutions playing increasingly important roles in the communities they serve. In addition to being a place for collecting, preserving, studying and exhibiting "objects," the museum has become a vital arena for learning, exploring and negotiating the complex relationships that individuals and groups have with the social and natural environments in which they live.

In response to this movement, the museum profession has seen significant growth that has led to greater demand for qualified museum specialists. It is a profession that offers many exciting opportunities for the application of knowledge, skills and critical thinking associated with a variety of disciplines.

The field of museum studies is inherently interdisciplinary in nature. Interdisciplinarity is fostered through the inclusion of ideas drawn from a variety of subject areas and from a structured examination of collecting institutions of varying types (e.g., art museums, science centers, botanical gardens, zoos), in various geographic settings, from different cultures, in both the past and the present. The curriculum is organized thematically, balancing history and theory with opportunities for practical engagement. This applied theory emphasis will feature ongoing exposure to the rich resources of the University of Michigan including museums, museum collections, and engaging museum professionals in the classroom as an integral part of student learning. Students will learn the value of bridging theory and practice.

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