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 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.
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...!
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’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.
WHERE OUR GRADUATES WORK
- National Gallery of Art
- Philadelphia Museum of Art
- J. Paul Getty Museum
- Virginia Historical Society
- National Museum of African American History and Culture
- US Holocaust Memorial Museum
- George Washington Mount Vernon
- President Lincoln’s Cottage
- Mount Vernon
- Lower East Side Tenement Museum
- National Museum of Natural History
- Field Museum (Chicago)
- New England Aquarium
- National Building Museum
- Baseball Hall of Fame
- United States Supreme Court
- Historic Congressional Cemetery
- Library of Congress
While our applicants follow the graduate admissions process, each of our programs may have specific requirements. Review the Master of Arts, On-Campus Certificate and Online Education Certificate requirements to understand if you are eligible to apply and what you must include in your application. There are various opportunities through our department and across GW that can help you fund your education. For example:
MA students may be eligible for partial Dean’s Fellowships.
Other fellowships are available through the Office of Assistantships & Fellowships.
The Office of Student Financial Assistance provides information on financial aid options and packages. Many students work while completing the program.
COSTS & FUNDING
The Student Accounts Office provides up to date cost information on our program. We do offer some partial fellowships to MFA students each year. To be considered for a fellowship, you must apply for fall admission. You may also find fellowships through the Office of Fellowships & Assistantships. The Office of Student Financial Assistance also has more information on aid opportunities.