Museum Studies - Curriculum

Summary of Certificate Requirements 

 Introductory Course - Introduction to Museum Studies

3 s.h

Four courses from at least three of the focus areas:

  • Museum Administration and Management
  • Museum History, Theory, and Culture
  • Exhibition Development and Public Education
  • Collection Care and Management
12 s.h. 

 Museum Studies Internship

3 s.h.
 Total 18 s.h.

Museum Studies Courses At A Glance

Fall 2018 Courses

  • MUSM:3001:0001     Introduction to Museum Studies 3 s.h
  • MUSM:3105:0EXW  Engaging Museum Audiences 3 s.h. (WWW)
  • MUSM:3120:0EXW  Museum Origins 3 s.h. (WWW)
  • MUSM:3200:0001     Collection Care and Management 3 s.h. (WWW)
  • MUSM:3237:001       Politics of the Archaeological Past 3 s.h.
  • MUSM:3500:0EXT   Nonprofit Organizational Effectiveness I 3 s.h. (WWW)
  • MUSM:4080:0IND    Museum Internship arr.
  • MUSM:4150:0EXW  Introduction to Grant Writing 3 s.h. (WWW)

Spring 2019 Courses

  • MUSM:2850:0001    Museums and Social Justice 3 s.h.
  • MUSM:3001:0EXW Introduction to Museum Studies 3 s.h. (WWW)
  • MUSM:3003:0001    Natural History Research Collections 3 s.h.
  • MUSM:3004:0EXW Exhibition Planning 3s.h. (WWW)
  • MUSM:3500:0EXV  Nonprofit Organizational Effectiveness I 3 s.h. (WWW)
  • MUSM:4080:0001    Museum Internship 1-3 s.h.
  • MUSM:4081:0001    The Art Museum: Theory and Practice 3 s.h.
  • MUSM:4150:0EXW Introduction to Grant Writing 3 s.h. (WWW)


Courses & Curriculum

Courses applied toward the Museum Studies Certificate also may be used to complete the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences General Education Program or requirements for a major or minor. However, students may not use more than 6 s.h. of course work applied toward another major, certificate, or minor to complete the requirements of the Certificate in Museum Studies.

Full course descriptions can be found in the General Catalog.  To find courses offered for the current semester, please check MyUI Course Browse/Registration for Museum Studies (MUSM).

MUSM:3001 Introduction to Museum Studies   3 s.h.
Overview of museum history, function, philosophy, collection and curatorial practices, governance and funding issues, exhibition evaluation, audience studies; American cultural institutions. GE: humanities. Same as ANTH:3001, EDTL:3001, SIED:300. Also offered as Distance Learning Course: MUSM:3001:0SCA/0EXW.

MUSM:4080:0IND Museum Internship               arr.
Working experience in functions, departments, programs of the sponsoring museum; relation to museum's overall mission and museum field in general.

Museum Administration and Management

MUSM:3100 Historic House Management and Preservation 3 s.h.
Management, preservation, interpretation, and basic operations of historic structures and the museums they serve. Prerequisites: 024:102. Also offered as a Distance Learning Course: MUSM:3100:0EXV.

MUSM:3500 Nonprofit Organizational Effectiveness I                3 s.h.
Operational and financial aspects of nonprofit management, including organization mission and governance; strategic planning necessary for effective management, including finance, budget, income generation, fund raising; guest presenters. Also offered as Distance Education Course MUSM:3500:0EXT/V/W. Same as ENTR:3595, MGMT:3500, SSW:3500, NURS:3595, MUSM:3500, RELS:3500.

MUSM:4150:0EXW Introduction to Grant Writing             3 s.h. (WWW)
Comprehensive training in grant proposal writing; basics of project development and management; core principles for writing small and large proposals to public and private funding sources; finer points of grant writing to increase competiveness of future proposals and applications; for students with limited grant writing experience. Same as EALL:4130:0EXW

Exhibition Development and Public Education

MUSM:3004 Exhibition Planning                3 s.h.
Preliminary work for and process of developing museum exhibitions; history of exhibit design, evaluation, budgets, teams and team member roles, working with community and special interest groups, methods of production and display; students research a topic, choose artifacts and images, and create a narrative and exhibit script. Prerequisite: MUSM:3001 or consent of instructor.

MUSM:3105:0EXW Engaging Museum Audiences         3 s.h. (WWW)
Effective audience engagement requires museums to meet visitors halfway; employing learning theories, knowledge of audience, and innovative examples from the field; students investigate a variety of approaches that are visitor-centered, interdisciplinary and locally-focused.

MUSM:3125:0EXW Museums in a Digital World         3 s.h. (WWW)
Digital technologies streamline internal museum processes while exponentially increasing the capacity of individuals to engage with museum collections; explores the digitized strategies and systems that democratize access and enhance museum visitor experiences.

MUSM:3131 Museum Evaluation and Visitor Studies 3 s.h.

Museum History, Theory, and Culture

MUSM:2850:0001 Museums and Social Justice                       3 s.h.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         In this learning community students will consider museums as institutions that have the power to frame social justice, promote equity of access through social bridging, and address and challenge social ills directly through exhibits, educational programs, and other museum initiatives. Based on foundational understandings of social justice issues, students will analyze museum case studies that engage and encourage stakeholders in dialog.

MUSM:4081:0001 The Art Museum: Theory and Practice                3 s.h.
Introduction to different aspects of art museums; emphasis on roles of art historians, especially curatorial practice; current and historical theories and practices of art exhibitions; varying debates of the politics of display; art museum professions; the many facets of art exhibition preparation; the University of Iowa Museum of Art collections. Same as ARTH:4081.

MUSM:3237 Politics of the Archaeological Past                3 s.h.
How control over management of material remains of the ancient past, and representations of that past, intersect with the identity of diverse groups, including archaeologists, indigenous peoples, national governments, collectors, ethnic minorities and majorities, museum curators; struggles for control of the archaeological past at different scales (artifacts, skeletal remains, sites, imagery, narratives) and in different regions of the world. This class explores how control over the representation and management of the ancient past has intersected with the identity of diverse groups, including archaeologists, indigenous peoples, and national governments. Same as ANTH:3237.

MUSM:3120:0001 Museum Origins        3 s.h.
History of museums; origin, character, and evolution into content specific institutions; anecdotes and personalities; how museums influenced society and their continuing relevance to a technological world. Also offered as Distance Education Course MUSM:3120:0EXW.

Collection Care and Management

MUSM:3003:0SCA Natural History Research Collections 3 s.h.
Techniques, methods, and issues specific to natural history research collections; practice in preparing and cleaning specimens; role of natural history specimens in modern scientific research.

MUSM:3200:0SCA Collection Care and Management              3 s.h.
How a museum's management policy relates to its administrative, legal, and ethical obligations to its collections; acquisitions, deaccessions, collection use, data standards, storage environment, health, safety, documentation. Same as GEOS:3200 (012:120).

MUSM:4200 Advanced Collection Care and Management                3 s.h.
Builds on MUSM:3200; types of museum objects and materials, their care and management; care, storage, and use of paper, books, photographs, works of art, electronic information media, textiles, furniture, archaeological artifacts, natural history specimens, archives; digitization projects, integrated pest management, risk assessment, museum security, museum construction and renovation, grant writing; for students planning museum careers or for professions that require care of collections. Prerequisite: GEOS:3200 or MUSM:3200. Same as GEOS:4200.

Related Links

University of Iowa Collections Coalition