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Museum Studies Concentration

Department of Art

Our Museum Studies concentration within the art history major, inaugurated in Spring 2007 and revised in 2011, requires the following ten courses: Museum Studies (ARTS 2600); two Museum Studies internships (ARTS 3602 and 3612, and ARTS 3700); five art history courses; Senior Seminar in Art History (ARTS 4910); and one additional course from the following: MGMT 3000 (Introduction to Management), MKTG 3000 (Fundamentals of Marketing), EDUC 3200 (Instructional Design, Implementation, and Management), EDUC 3250 (also listed as IDST 1660; Get Creative: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Developing Creativity), or EDUC 3260 (Practicum in Arts Education). A Museum Studies minor can be earned by taking three art history courses, Museum Studies (ARTS 2600), and one Museum Studies internship (ARTS 3602 and 3612, or ARTS 3700).

In the sculpture garden of the Museum of Modern Art, NY, May 2014
In the sculpture garden of the Museum of Modern Art, NY, May 2014

Museum Studies (ARTS 2600) (4 semester hours) provides an introduction to the structure, operations, and social and political functions of museums. Topics include funding, management, marketing, ethical issues, exhibition strategies, and educational outreach. We also consider the practical, ethical, and legal issues related to the acquisition, handling, conservation, and exhibition of museum objects. We have frequent informal panel presentations by museum professionals in the area and also take field trips to study the behind-the-scenes operations of various museums.

Museum Studies Internship I (ARTS 3602) (2 semester hours). An internship in which a student works at a museum, gallery, arts administration agency, or related site for at least 75 hours during the semester and writes a weekly journal. Prerequisite: consent of art history faculty.

Millsaps Art History majors inspecting Lynda Benglis at the Museum of Modern Art, May 2014

Museum Studies Internship Readings (ARTS 3612)(2 semester hours). A readings course in which students meet frequently to discuss museum-related texts with the art history mentor and other interns. Prerequisite: ARTS 3602 or consent of art history faculty. 

Museum Studies Internship II (ARTS 3700) (4 semester hours) An internship in which a student works at a museum, gallery, arts administration agency, or related site for at least 100 hours during the semester or summer and writes a research paper on a museum studies topic. Prerequisite: consent of art history faculty.

Instructions for applying for an internship at the Mississippi Museum of Art can be found on their web site: http://www.msmuseumart.org/index.php/aboutus/page/internships. You must submit a cover letter, application form, 3-page writing sample, two letters of recommendation, transcript, resume, and short personal statement by the specified deadline.

Senior Comps are similar to those for the art history major without a concentration in Museum Studies (see link at the left), with some additional possibilities for the senior paper. Students can either write an art history research paper or can do a senior project that is more closely connected to the field:

1) Design an exhibition (virtual or actual) centered around a significant theme, choose your works, and write the accompanying labels and an exhibition catalogue that includes an introductory essay as well as catalogue entries for each work of art. An actual exhibition could perhaps be arranged in the Lewis Art Gallery or even a local gallery, but since museums and galleries determine their schedules a year or more in advance this would probably require making initial contacts in the fall of your junior year. A virtual exhibition could be displayed in the form of a web site or on a CD/DVD. An exhibition could also be displayed in the form of color photocopies of the images, mounted in some way, and hung in one of the art spaces.

2) Write a research paper based on a comparison of several similar exhibitions, on the same artist(s) or theme. What were some of the significant differences in approach? What were some of the controversial issues raised? This would include art historical research as well as research of the reviews of each exhibition and the choices made by the museums about the works to be included, the layout, the catalogue, etc.

3) Write a research paper based on a significant museum issue or controversy.

4) Base your paper on a sociological study of museum practices, either from the perspective of museum visitors or museum personnel. Your research would entail surveys, questionnaires, or interviews, as well as research into similar museum studies done elsewhere.


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