1. Courses in the Museum Studies Core (9 credit hours)
The Museum Studies Core ensures that all Museum Studies students gain a comprehensive understanding of the theories, history, techniques, and problems common to museums, historical agencies, and related institutions. The capstone course, taken in a student’s third semester of study, provides an avenue for students to conduct research or other creative activities that advance the discipline of museum studies.

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MUSE 801 The Nature of Museums (3 credits – fall) This course provides an overview of the kinds of museums, their various missions, and their characteristics and potentials as research, education, and public service institutions responsible for collections of natural and cultural objects.
MUSE 802 The Culture of Museums (3 credits – spring) This course highlights classic texts and current directions in museum studies.
MUSE 803 Seminar in Current Museum Topics (3 credits – fall) This course involves an in-depth examination of specific topics currently of concern to museums and museum professionals. It also serves as a capstone course in which each student develops and refines their research/final project.

 

2. Courses focusing on Museum Professional Areas (9 credit hours)
Students will develop expertise in one of the principal specialties of museum work by completing at least two courses in that area, at least one of which must be a Museum Studies (MUSE) course. At KU the museum professional specialties are designated as Leadership and Management, Interpretation, Collections, and Community Connections. For each specialty, courses incorporate training in best practices, policy development, legal and regulatory concerns, as well as future trends. NOTE: Examples of courses in other departments are offered only to indicate the range and types of courses that could fulfill requirements. It is the responsibility of students, and their advisors, to ensure that individual courses meet program requirements based on the general relevance of the course and assurance that the student’s work in the class will be applicable to museum studies by meeting with instructors and examining syllabi.

 

LEADERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT Courses cover areas such as administration, policy, fundraising, and legal issues related to the management of nonprofit organizations.

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MUSE 701 Museum Management (3 cr.) Lecture, discussion, and laboratory exercises on the nature of museums as organizations; accounting, budget cycles, personnel management, and related topics will be presented using, as appropriate, case studies and a simulated museum organization model.

Examples of Courses in Other Departments and Programs:
MGMT 781 Managing Strategic Direction and Change
MGMT 782 Developing Effective Management and Team Skills
PUAD 703 Foundations of the Nonprofit Sector
PUAD 828 Nonprofit Management and Policy
PUAD 832 Organizational Theory
PUAD 836 Data-Driven Decision-Making
PUAD 842 Law and Public Management
PUAD 845 Managing Public Organizations
PUAD 854 Innovation and Organizational Change
PUAD 855 Financial Management for Public and Not-for-Profit Organizations  

 

INTERPRETATION Interpretation includes developing skills in exhibition design and installation, graphics, and marketing, public programs, as well as innovative approaches to new and emerging technologies.

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MUSE 703 Introduction to Museum Exhibits (3 credits) Presentation of principles and practices of exhibit management, design, and production. Topics will include developing a master plan for museum exhibits; concept development, design, installation, and maintenance of exhibits; design theory; design process; label writing and editing; selection of materials; architectural requirements and building codes; cost estimating; publicity; security; and exhibit evaluation. Consideration will be given to exhibition problems in public and private museums in the areas of anthropology, art, history, natural history, and technology.
MUSE 705 Introduction to Museum Public Education (3 credits) Consideration of the goals of an institution’s public education services, developing programs, identifying potential audiences, developing audiences, and funding. Workshops and demonstrations are designed for students to gain practical experience working with various programs and developing model programs.

Examples of Courses in Other Departments and Programs:
ADS 710 Advanced Human Factors in Interaction Design
ADS 712 Design Strategies and Methods
ADS 745 Branding and Design
ADS 765 Interaction Design
ADS 770 Design Cognition
BIOL 720 Scientific Illustration
JOUR 552 Digital Media
THR 550 Applied and Interactive Theatre
THR 618 Scenography & the Musical Theatre
 

COLLECTIONS Courses provide opportunities to develop expertise in the practices and policies associated with the management and care of the range of materials in museum collections.

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MUSE 704 Principles and Practices of Museum Collection Management (3 credits) Lecture, discussion, and laboratory exercises on the nature of museum collections, their associated data, and their use in exhibition, education, and scholarly research. Topics addressed include acquisition, accessioning, cataloging, collection storage, integrated pest management, data management, collection care, security, access, and collection planning for all types of museums.
MUSE 706 Conservation Principles and Practices (3 credits) This course will acquaint the future museum professional with the conservation of all types of collections. Philosophical and ethical approaches will be discussed as well as changing practices regarding conservation techniques. Emphasis will be placed on detection and identification of deterioration in objects made of organic and inorganic materials, and how these problems can be remedied. Storage and care of objects will also be considered.
MUSE 710 Natural Science Curation and Collections Management (3 credits). This course explores collections in the KU Museum of Natural History through the eyes of their curators and collection managers.  It addresses aspects of collecting, cataloguing, preserving, storing, managing, and digitally archiving different types of natural science collections. The course format consists of lectures, readings, workshops, and guided tours of the museum’s paleontological, biological (flora and fauna) and archaeological division collections, as well as the Spencer Museum of Art’s ethnographic collections. Student projects will involve one of the museum’s collections with the opportunity for hands-on experience. 
 

COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS Courses enable students to develop skills in public programming, curriculum planning, visitor studies, audience development, and volunteer management.

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MUSE 705 Introduction to Museum Public Education (3 credits) Consideration of the goals of an institution’s public education services, developing programs, identifying potential audiences, developing audiences, and funding. Workshops and demonstrations are designed for students to gain practical experience working with various programs and developing model programs.

Examples of Courses in Other Departments and Programs:
ABSC 719 Experimental Field Work in Community Settings
C&T 808 Qualitative Research Curriculum Inquiry
C&T 809 Creative Thinking and Learning
COMS 850 Introduction to Research Methods
COMS 855 Qualitative Research Methods in Communication Studies
HIST 601 Oral History
SPED 719 Learning and Technology
VAE 750 Introduction to Art Museum Education
 
 

3. Courses focusing on Museum Conceptual Domains (6 credit hours)
The conceptual domains of museum work -- Materiality, Engagement, and Representation -- address in depth the conceptual and theoretical foundations of museums. Courses that emphasize conceptual domains will place museological subjects in broader historical and intellectual frameworks. Students may take courses focused on one or more of these areas, and which are offered outside of MUSE. For instance, if you're interested in natural sciences collections management, taking courses from the Ecology & Evolutionary Biology or Geology departments would be useful. Want to go into museum public education? Consider courses in educational instruction technology, curriculum development, or working with children with autism from the School of Education, or courses from the Gerontology program. Courses will be selected with the approval of the student’s committee chair, as well as the course instructor. Approval will be based on the general relevance of the course, and assurance that the student’s work in the class will be applicable to museum studies. NOTE: The spreadsheet below of courses taken is offered only to indicate the range and types of courses that could fulfill requirements. 

 

4. Electives and Other Museum Studies Courses (9 credit hours)
Students are expected to deepen their knowledge of the field by taking courses in a subject area pertinent to their area of specialization. Courses will be selected with the approval of the student’s committee chair, as well as the course instructor. Students may also enroll in the courses below as they develop or complete their final project. The courses below can be taken to fulfill electives requirements. ​NOTE: The courses listed below are only a few of the options available to fulfill coursework requirements.

MUSE 780 Special Topics (1-3 credits) Advanced courses on special topics in museum studies, given as need arises. Lectures, discussions of readings, and guest speakers.
MUSE 790 Advanced Study (1-3 credits) Individual research in a specialized topic not ordinarily treated in a Museum Studies core course for which there is a member of the graduate faculty competent and willing to direct a research project.
MUSE 792 Directed Readings (1-3 credits) Directed reading in an area of museum studies in which there is no particular course in the Museum Studies Program but in which there is a member of the graduate faculty competent and willing to direct a program of study.


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Find out what KU's Museum Studies Program and our alumni are up to:

June 2020 Newsletter
January 2019 Newsletter
September 2017 Newsletter
January 2017 Newsletter