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Common Questions

[arrow] What is Museum Studies?

Museum Studies is an innovative, experiential, technically-based program that prepares students for careers in museums, archives, libraries, historic sites, historic houses, historic societies, and photo collections. Institutions that collect cultural or scientific materials increasingly need professionals who can bring 21st century technological and business skills, as well as traditional museum studies knowledge, to the preservation of the past.

[arrow] What is Public History?

Public history commonly refers to history as practiced outside of the academy, bringing history to life, in places, such as museums, historic sites, historic houses, and national parks, on theaters, through historic documentaries and films, and increasingly, on screens, whether on websites, on a laptop, or on an app on a mobile device in a museum. Where academic historians usually ply their trade in books and journals and classrooms, public historians practice history in full view of the public. Public historians encourage their audience to explore the past directly and intimately, using historical objects, such as artifacts, photographs, and clothing. Public history seeks to inform and to inspire, as well as to engage, excite, and educate, its audience. Public historians trained within the context of a larger museum studies program gain the benefit of being prepared to work as historians, trained by historians and therefore gaining the necessary tools of historical method and inquiry, while having the benefit of learning about the context in which most of them will work at the same time, namely, museums. Undergraduates in the Public History track will gain a handle on both theory and practice, history and museums, by enrolling in such a program.

[arrow] What careers would I be prepared for?

Upon graduation you will be prepared to work in public and private institutions that collect cultural objects, such as:

  • museums of various types, such as:
    • art museums
    • anthropology museums
    • ethnographic museums
    • science museums
    • science and technology museums
    • science and industry museums
    • space and aeronautics museums
    • history museums
    • living history museums
    • natural history museums
  • historical sites
  • historical societies
  • historic houses
  • libraries
  • archives
  • photography collections
  • corporations

[arrow] What graduate programs could I consider?

Upon graduation you will be prepared to further your education in a variety of master’s degree programs, in such fields as:

  • museum studies
  • public history
  • art history
  • history
  • informatics
  • arts management
  • library and information studies
  • business administration

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 2012 there were approximately 29,300 archivists, curators, and museum workers, 148,000 librarians, and 3,800 public historians in the U.S. labor force. These areas are expected to grow as current professionals reach retirement age and will have to be replaced with people, like you, whose education has prepared them for the new responsibilities of the field.

[arrow] How do I apply?

Apply for the Museum Studies program though the Undergraduate Admissions Office.

[arrow] What high school GPA do I need?

Students are expected to have a high school GPA of approximately 89% (B+/A-).

[arrow] Do I need a portfolio? Do I need to have taken any art courses?


[arrow] Do I need to have taken any science courses?

The general university requirements specify that you must have taken algebra, geometry, and at least 2 years of science in high school.

20th century Japanese wood block