Graduates of museum studies programs commonly pursue careers as archivists, curators, and technicians to protect, manage, and organize collections of artwork and historical items. They typically have a graduate degree in museum studies or in a subject such as history, library science, archival science, archeology, or another closely related subject. Professionals in the field who majored in something other than museum studies often have a certificate or emphasis in museum studies to specialize their degrees.
Museum Studies Graduate Curriculum
Museum studies programs typically require students to complete core and elective courses, a written thesis or dissertation, and an internship for academic credit.
Common Courses in Museum Studies Graduate Programs:
Museum studies graduate students study an array of subjects. Some core subjects may include:
- History and theory of museums
- Museum collections and exhibits
- Museum management
- Research methodology
In addition to core subjects, museum studies majors may elect to study subjects such as:
- Development, fundraising, and grantsmanship
- Museum education and community outreach
- Museums and interactive technologies
- Political, cultural, and social landscapes and conflicts of museums
- Museum law and policy
- Cultural property and rights
Practicum or Internship Requirements for Museum Studies Graduate Students:
Many museum studies programs require graduate students to complete an internship as a part of their studies.
Licensure Requirements and Certifications for Museum Studies Graduate Students
Certification is optional in the field of museum studies. If they choose to do so, archivists can test for professional certification through the Academy of Certified Archivists.
Professional Organizations for Museum Studies Practitioners
There are numerous professional organizations students and professionals in the field of museum studies may join. Some include:
- The American Alliance of Museums (AAM)
- The American Anthropological Association (AAA)
- Archives & Museum Informatics (A&MI)
- The American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (AIC)
- The Association of Children’s Museums (ACM)
- The American Association for State and Local History
A more extensive list of professional associations and resources that may be available to professionals in the field of museum studies is listed by the Smithsonian here.
Areas of Specialization for Museum Studies Graduate Students
Students and professionals in the field of museum studies may specialize in a variety of industries. Some include:
- Children’s museums
- Museum management
- Exhibit design and management
- Local, state, national, or international history
- Academic museums and galleries
- Zoos and aquariums
- Botanical gardens
- Archeology, anthropology, history, or geology
Specialists in these areas might choose to further specialize by becoming experts in a particular aspect of their specialty. African-American history, public history, cultural anthropology, technology and innovation, and Renaissance art are all examples of sub-specializations in the above mentioned specialties.
Potential Career Opportunities for Individuals with a Museum Studies Graduate Degree
Graduates of a museum studies program might choose to pursue career opportunities that include; archivists, curators, or technicians; other professionals in the field of museum studies work as researchers, educators, managers, analysts, or preservationists. They might work in museums and galleries, but some might work for governmental entities, educational institutions, and other public and private organizations and businesses.
Median Annual Salary Information for Museum Studies Careers
The following chart shows the annual median wage for professionals in the field of museum studies.
|2012 Median Annual Salary Information for Careers Related to the Field of Museum Studies|
|Industry||Median Annual Wage|
|Archivists, Curators, & Museum Workers||$44,410|
|Anthropologists & Archeologists||$57,420|
|Sources: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/curators-museum-technicians-and- conservators.htm; http://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/anthropologists-and-archeologists.htm; http://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/historians.htm; http://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and- library/librarians.htm|
Johns Hopkins University