Museum studies; Visitors view a textile exhibit at a museum

Museum Studies

One of the nation’s most prestigious museum studies programs, in the heart of the nation’s capital

Established in 1976, the Master of Arts in Museum Studies at the George Washington University responds to the evolving museum profession by combining hands-on training with future-focused theoretical engagement.  Students gain foundational knowledge about the state of museum work today, practical skills and the ability to critically engage with developments in the field. Our location in the nation’s museum capital offers a unique opportunity to connect to national and global conversations at the cutting edge of museum practice.

Coursework offers both breadth and depth in Collections Management, Museum Management, Exhibitions and Visitor Experience, and Public Engagement. Our students come from a range of academic disciplines, from history and anthropology to art history and the natural sciences.

 

 

 

Our Programs

 

OUR PROGRAMS

 

 

 

 

 

 

OUR FACULTY

Our faculty are key to our program. Practitioners themselves, they provide an understanding of the knowledge and skills necessary to pursue successful museum careers. Our faculty are also actively involved in projects with their students.

Meet ALL Faculty

Professor Laura Schiavo

PROFESSOR LAURA SCHIAVO

Professor Schiavo is working with students to research and write a Historic Furnishing Report for the National Park Service Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site. This project is part of a cooperative agreement between the National Park Service and GW.

Professor Mary Coughlin

PROFESSOR MARY COUGHLIN

Professor Coughlin is working with conservation scientists from the Smithsonian Institution as well as a student from the Environmental and Green Chemistry program on a Columbian College Facilitating Fund project monitoring deteriorating poly (vinyl chloride) plastics.

 

Highlighted Internships


HIGHLIGHTED INTERNSHIPS

PRIYA LEWIS

My internship at the NWP was an amazing opportunity I had in the summer of 2018. 

Being a small but dynamic historic house and museum, I was not only an intern but an integral and equal contributor to the team. From accessioning, to inventorying the collection, to implementing the barcoding system and to attending a two-day workshop planning future interpretative strategy, I learnt something new every day. Donning many hats in the course of the internship, my most valuable take away from is – To take initiative, plan, and think beyond the period of your internship! Look at the big picture because your small initiative will someday go a long way, in ways you wouldn’t even imagine right away...!

Priya Lewis and cherry blossoms

Jennifer Schneider

JENNIFER SCHNEIDER

During my time as the James Lollar Hagan Exhibition Development Intern at the National Museum of American History, I was able to practice many of the evaluation methods featured in Dr. Kym Rice’s Exhibition Development class. I had the opportunity to work alongside some of the nation’s best to develop a new women’s history exhibition and to evaluate recently-opened exhibitions. I gained hands-on experience with formative and remedial evaluation methods. The different evaluations I devised and performed allowed me to learn what makes an effective evaluation and complete data analyses to create post-evaluation documents for use by exhibition teams.

Nicole Casart

Nicole Casart

Nicole’s experience at GW and in her volunteering spurred her research: “‘My interactions with visitors, engagement trainings, and exposure to behind-the-scenes museum work spurred me to pursue a degree in Museum Studies with a focus on Exhibitions and Visitor Experience.”

Cassie Green (M.A., '19)

When Cassie Green (M.A., '19) received her acceptance to GW’s MA program in Museum Studies, she was thrilled but faced the challenge of moving across the country with her husband and five children from Boise, Idaho. 

She wanted her children to know that no goal they set for themselves was too big to accomplish, so they committed to the East coast. Cassie’s husband quit his job, they sold their house, and didn’t look back.

Since her move, Cassie has completed a directed research project and interned for both the Department of Anthropology’s Skeletal Biology Program and the Collections Program overseeing the Office of Education and Outreach collections  at the National Museum of Natural History. “It is our duty to preserve and protect [museums] for future generations,” Cassie explains. Her various work has helped to ensure that the world’s natural and cultural history is maintained for her children and the generations beyond.

photo of Cassie Green

View Museum Studies M.A. Projects

 

 

WHERE OUR GRADUATES WORK

 

A roman style building

FINE AND DECORATIVE ART MUSEUMS

  • National Gallery of Art
  • Philadelphia Museum of Art
  • J. Paul Getty Museum

A bust of a woman

HISTORY MUSEUMS AND CENTERS, HISTORICAL SOCIETIES

  • Virginia Historical Society
  • National Museum of African American History and Culture
  • US Holocaust Memorial Museum

The Washington monument

HISTORIC SITES

  • George Washington Mount Vernon
  • President Lincoln’s Cottage
  • Mount Vernon
  • Lower East Side Tenement Museum

A tyrannosaurus skull

NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUMS, SCIENCE CENTERS, AND AQUARIA

  • National Museum of Natural History
  • Field Museum (Chicago)
  • New England Aquarium

A badge with a vase and lines of text

OTHER MUSEUMS

  • National Building Museum
  • Baseball Hall of Fame

A soaring falcon with a star over its head

GOVERNMENT AGENCIES AND SITES WASHINGTON DC (AREA)

  • United States Supreme Court
  • Historic Congressional Cemetery
  • Library of Congress

 

 

 

CONTACT US

2142 G Street, NW
[email protected] 
202-994-7030
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Program Administrator
Roxann Edwards
[email protected]

 

Program Head
Mary Coughlin
[email protected]

 

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