Museum studies online

Museum Studies Online Certificate


The Online Certificate in Museum Collections Management and Care (MCMC) features a sequence of four graduate-level courses designed for those working or volunteering in museums with collections management responsibilities. The 12-credit certificate program is designed to be completed over the course of four semesters (3 credits per semester), and is available entirely online. There is never a mandatory time that students must log on in order to complete their coursework. Students in the program work at a variety of types and sizes of museums in locations all over the country and across the world.




Colonel Robert Dalessandro

"The program set me on a path to success in every aspect of museums operations and focused on issues I faced daily. I have frequently told people that the Museum Collections Graduate Certificate Program was the single most relevant academic program I have ever undertaken.”

- Colonel Robert Dalessandro, Chief of the U.S. Army Center of Military History, Washington, D.C.


The George Washington University Graduate Certificate in Collections Management and Care: Is it Right for You?

Madeline Calise, Registrar and Collections Specialist, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, Melbourne, Florida
Originally published in The Newsletter of the Southeastern Museums ConferenceMalaro book cover

What do you do when you luck your way into the museum world and find that your position, or the position you would like to have, requires some skills you have not yet acquired? Maybe you got your undergraduate degree in something different. Maybe you changed from a previous career. Maybe you got your degree in museum studies thirty years ago and now need a refresher or courses specifically in collections care. Maybe your institution has asked you to put on yet another hat. What do you do? You probably become an expert on training resources. You watch free webinars on YouTube, Google workshops, conferences, affiliation certificates, and contemplate a first or second MA in art history, public history, museum studies, or historic preservation. Maybe you just wanted to learn a little more about Integrated Pest Management because you found a mysterious roach on the floor, and it somehow led you down a rabbit hole of conservation degrees.

Before getting overwhelmed, know that you have options. I cannot tell you which program to choose, but I can tell you what I did when I found myself in a collections management and registration role. I got a Graduate Certificate in Collections Management and Care from George Washington University. Read More    


Program of Study


The courses we offer in our MCMC program are ideal for museum professionals either lacking prior formal museum studies training or who desire a refresher. You’ll complete four 3-credit courses.

(Fall Semester)

Examines the role of preventive conservation in museums by introducing materials commonly found in collections, the cause for their deterioration, and the resources available to identify and mitigate collection risks.

Topics include: object handling, condition reporting and photo-documentation, agents of deterioration, overview of materials, risk assessments, ethical issues in conservation, and how to choose storage and exhibit materials for collections.



(Spring Semester)

Delves deeper into issues of preventive conservation and the active role that non-conservators can have in preserving collections.

Topics include: environmental monitoring of temperature, relative humidity, visible and ultraviolet light; facilities design and renovation; fire protection; physical security; integrated pest management; exhibition and storage design; housekeeping; hosting events at museums and historic sites; and emergency preparedness.

(Summer Semester)

Examines the legal duties and ethical obligations placed on those who manage museums and their collections relative to standard museum operations, including acquisitions, deaccessions, and loans.

Topics include stolen art, Nazi-era looting, NAGPRA, restricted gifts, copyright, VARA, rights to privacy and publicity, deaccessions, loans and lending.



(Fall Semester)

Examines the fundamental principles and practices of collections management in modern museums by providing opportunities for students to see how they are applied.

Topics include accessioning, handling, collection planning, intellectual property rights, management, storage, insurance, shipping, exhibition planning, traveling exhibitions, and unclaimed loans.



Woman pulls an artifact from archives



Gelman Library provides online access to GW students through the research system. All registered students may access resources without charge at Gelman Library's online site. This includes electronic journals, databases, e-books and many other research resources. In case of technical difficulties, please contact your Teaching Assistant at [email protected]. He/she will assist you directly or put you in contact with one of our technical assistants.



"The Distance Education Program is very flexible and experienced professors help you in understanding every issue. With this program I was able to offer many changes to the museums in my country. It contributed a lot during my volunteering period and helped me in becoming a better professional.”

- Nino Tabeshadze, International Student from Tbilisi, Georgia



For inquiries about the online education certificate, email [email protected].