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What is Museology and Museum Studies?
Museology and museum studies is the area of study and employment that deals with the operations and management of museums, including the preservation and display of artifacts, art, materials, and works relevant to the theme and scope of that museum. In addition, based on the museums focus, procurement, research, restoration and budgeting may be included in the responsibilities of an individual in this field. The field of study is relatively new though has gained momentum and traction among scholars in recent years.
Degrees in Museum Studies
As with most industries, the museum sector continues to rapidly evolve. Museums of the 21st century may look similar to those found a generation or two ago but the differences continue to widen. The use of technology, interactive exhibits, and access to information at a museum is at an all-time high. As a result, the degree programs in museum studies also has changed. With a wider array of degree programs and online degree options, students in the field will be well-equipped to lead organizations into the future. A summary of degrees in museum studies include the following:
Online Certificate Programs in Museum Studies
In-class certificates or online certificates in museum studies can be offered in two forms: undergraduate and graduate. Undergraduate certificate programs provide students with the building blocks in a focused, compressed time frame. Most undergraduate certificate programs can be completed in less than a year based on full-time enrollment. Graduate certificates are programs designed for qualifying students and practitioners looking to gain additional skills or knowledge in the field. Certificate programs will vary by school but can include programs such as Museum Studies, Digital Curation, Cultural Heritage, and Non-Profit Management.
Online Bachelor’s Degree in Museum Studies
Online bachelor degree programs in museum studies is a 4-year program for full-time students and longer for part-time students as a function of program pace. Bachelor degrees in museum studies are conferred as a Bachelor of Arts (BA) as the curriculum bends towards art-derived curriculum. Coursework will vary from school to school but will generally include classes such as: museums in the digital age, professions in museology, museum education, exhibition strategies, history of museums, business of museums, philosophy of museums, collection management, global studies, community engagement, law, and ethics.
Online Master’s Degree in Museum Studies
The master’s degree program in museum studies is a 2-3 year degree of full-time matriculation. Master’s degrees in museum studies and digital curation are conferred as a Master of Arts or MA degree. Coursework will be a rigorous, intensive program geared to prepare students to manage and lead museums of all sizes. Classes are not identical from college to college but will include variations of the following: exhibition design, architecture, curatorship, living collections, conservation, online exhibitions, exhibit preservations, educational programming, mobile applications, fundraising, technology in museums, museum web projects, social media strategies, introduction to archives, collection management systems, digital preservations, cataloging, leadership, project management, finance, cultural specificity, and museum innovation.
Individuals seeking an education in this field will typically pursue a master's degree at minimum in order to be able to seek employment. As such, individuals may earn a bachelor's degree in museology and museum studies, or in a related field such as anthropology, archaeology, history, art history, library studies or others. A master's degree program prepare individuals with the understanding of layout, promotion, customer service, context and more, allowing the individual to not only manage, but present images and objects in a meaningful and entertaining way.
A curriculum may include:
- History and Development of Museums
- Exhibit Presentation
- Research and Restoration
- Budgeting and Museum Services
- Promotion and Marketing
Schools Other Students Requested Information From:
Museums are located throughout the United States and established for a variety of reasons and themes. Individuals may seek out employment at any such institutions, but will have their responsibilities grow or shrink based on the size and popularity of the given museum. Based on the subject matter covered by such an institution, museums may or may not have laboratories, restoration facilities, research centers, and procurement departments. Individuals may work as curators, providing instruction and museum information to visitors, or may work on the design of a given exhibit, bringing together themes and works in order to create an enjoyable experience.
Job Growth, Salary, and Related Fields
Job growth is expected to increase in the next decade due mostly to the need to modernize records and facilities in order to better preserve and make more efficient a given museum. The average salary of a museologist is approximately $45,000 per year, though may be affected by role, responsibilities, location and size of the museum. Individuals interested in museum studies may also wish to consider careers as archivists, curators, and museum technicians and conservators.