Museum Studies; Students inspect a museum artifact

Museum Studies

MASTER OF ARTS

 

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.

 

What you'll study


WHAT YOU'LL STUDY
 

A woman looks at a textile exhibit

 

The MA program of study is flexible so students can personalize their academic experience to help accomplish their own goals. Our 36-credit program can be completed by full-time students in two academic years. Part-time study is also permitted, but the program must be completed in a maximum of four years

PROGRAM OF STUDY INCLUDES:

All students will complete:  

  • one core course entitled Museum Ethics & Values

  • one internship

  • five (5) courses as required in the selected concentration

  • five (5) electives which may be drawn from within Museum Studies (including a second internship) or from outside the program. Up to four (4) non-museum studies courses are permitted.

Throughout your program, you should work with your advisor to ensure that you will meet program requirements and your own career and educational goals. 

MUSEUM STUDIES CONCENTRATION

Every student in the MA program selects a Museum Studies concentration in one of four areas of concentration:

  • Museum Management
  • Collections Management
  • Exhibitions and Visitor Experience
  • Public Engagement 

 

OTHER REQUIREMENTS

Students must complete a Museum Studies comprehensive exam in their concentration, fulfill the graduate writing requirement and complete an oral presentation related to their internship.

Students interested in submitting a paper for the Marie C. Malaro Excellence in Research & Writing Award may submit the same paper for both the Writing Requirement and Malaro Award.

 

  1. Choose a paper you wrote while in graduate school or choose a research topic for your paper.
  2. Meet with the professor for whom you wrote the original paper or meet with a faculty member who has an area of expertise in your research topic.
  3. Revise or write the paper, incorporating notes and comments from the faculty member who has an area of expertise in your research topic
  4. Once the faculty member says the paper is sufficient for your writing requirement, fill out the Writing Requirement Form and have that faculty member sign it.
  5. Turn in your paper (with the signed Writing Requirement Form) by the due date.

Course Listings

 

 

NON-PROFIT MANAGEMENT CERTIFICATE OPTION

Master’s candidates who focus on museum management are eligible to receive a certificate in Nonprofit Management from the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration. This certificate program provides management track students the opportunity to graduate with both an MA in Museum Studies and a Certificate in Non­profit Management at no extra cost.

Students are required to complete four Museum Studies Program Museum Management track courses and four specified courses from the Non¬profit Management program in the Trachtenberg School (PPPA 6031 and 6032 are required plus any of these two: PPPA 6016, 6033, 6034, 6053, 6058).

Department approval is required. Please speak with your advisor if you are interested in this option.

 

 

Where you'll go


WHERE YOU'LL GO
 

STRONG NETWORKING OPPORTUNITIES

Our students benefit from a strong alumni network working in museums throughout the world. In addition, practitioners from some of the nation’s leading museums and policymakers at the forefront of cultural debates are frequent participants at discussions in the classroom. The program’s affiliations with more than 60 museums and cultural organizations enables students to immerse themselves in world-class venues as they learn from some of the nation’s leading museum professionals.

 

THROUGH INTERNSHIP EXPERIENCES, MUSEUM STUDIES STUDENTS HAVE WORKED ON

  • Film preservation at the Archives Center at the National Museum of American History;
  • Collections management at the British Museum in London and at the National Museum of Natural History;
  • Exhibition development and marketing at the Newseum and George Washington’s Mount Vernon;
  • Curatorial research for exhibits at the National Postal Museum;
  • and provenance research at the National Gallery of Art.


 

WHERE OUR ALUMNI WORK

A roman style building

FINE AND DECORATIVE ART MUSEUMS

  • Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
  • Mitchell Museum of Western Art (Illinois)
  • Glenstone Museum
  • DAR museum
  • Textile Museum
  • National Gallery of Art
  • National Museum of Women in the Arts
  • Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens
  • Albright Knox Museum (Buffalo, NY)
  • Philadelphia Museum of Art
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • J. Paul Getty Museum
  • Peabody Essex Museum
  • Walters Museum (Baltimore)
  • San Francisco Fine Arts Museum
  • Portland (OR) Art Museum

A soaring falcon with a star over its head

GOVERNMENT AGENCIES & SITES (WASHINGTON, DC)

  • United States Supreme Court
  • United States Capitol
  • White House
  • State Department, Diplomacy Museum
  • National Archives and Records Administration
  • Historic Congressional Cemetery
  • Institute of Museum and Library Services
  • Library of Congress
  • National Museum of the US Army
  • National Museum of the Marine Corps

A bust of a woman

HISTORY MUSEUMS, CENTERS, AND HISTORICAL SOCIETIES

  • Virginia Historical Society
  • Montgomery County (MD) Historical Society
  • Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington
  • Ramsey County Historical Society
  • Cincinnati Museum Center
  • Peoria Riverfront Museum (Ill)
  • National Museum of American History
  • National Museum of African American History and Culture
  • US Holocaust Memorial Museum
  • The Octagon
  • Abraham Lincoln Museum (Ill)
  • History Miami
  • History Colorado
  • LA County Museum
  • Heinz History Center (PA)

The Washington monument

HISTORIC SITES

  • President Lincoln’s Cottage
  • Dumbarton House
  • Tudor Place
  • Mount Vernon
  • Ford’s Theater
  • Monticello
  • 6th Floor Museum (Dallas)
  • Lower East Side Tenement Museum
  • Intrepid (NY)
  • Molly Brown House (Denver)

Stacked business cards

MUSEUM ASSOCIATIONS

  • American Alliance of Museums
  • Association of Children’s Museums
  • Museum Field, For Profit
  • Gallagher & Associates
  • D&P (Exhibition design and fabrication)

A tyrannosaurus skull

NATURAL HISTORY  MUSEUMS, SCIENCE CENTERS, AQUARIA

  • National Museum of Natural History
  • Field Museum (Chicago)
  • Denver Museum of Nature and Science
  • Bay Area Discovery Museum
  • New England Aquarium
  • National Aquarium
  • Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History

A badge with a vase and lines of text on it

OTHER MUSEUMS

  • Musical Instrument Museum (Phoenix)
  • Newseum
  • Children’s Museum of Rochester (Minnesota)
  • Children’s Museum of Atlanta
  • National Air and Space Museum
  • National Building Museum
  • International Spy Museum
  • National Firearms Museum
  • Baseball Hall of Fame
  • NASCAR Museum

 

 

 

 

 

CONTACTS

Samson Hall
2036 H Street, NW, 3rd Floor
(Enter through Corcoran Hall,  725 21st St, NW. Take elevator or stairs to the second floor and enter Samson Hall through the door to your right.)
[email protected]
(202) 994-9912

Program Administrator
Roxann Edwards
[email protected]

Program Head, Associate Professor for Museum Studies,
Director of Graduate Studies

Laura Schiavo
[email protected]