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Museum Studies

Practical training in a liberal arts context

Overview   |   Feature   |   Our Faculty   |   Plan of Study   |   Courses  

 

The Museum Studies Program at Earlham is operated cooperatively by the History, Biology, Geology and Art departments with the Joseph Moore Museum, the regional natural history museum on campus.

Our approach is interdisciplinary and is designed to combine a liberal arts education with the practical aspects of museum work.

Our aim is to provide a foundation in the history, best practices and critical issues of museology, and to introduce students to a variety of museums and museum activities through experiential education.

Students who choose Museum Studies benefit from the staff and collections at the Joseph Moore Museum of Natural History, the Geology Department and the Earlham College Art Collections.

Highlights

Museum Studies students often work as interns or volunteers at the Wayne County Historical Museum and Richmond Art Museum.

Off-campus study also provides exceptional opportunities to explore the practical aspects of museum work, such as gallery work as part of the New York Arts program.

While participating in the England program, students have completed curatorial, research and exhibition projects at the National Maritime Museum, Museum of London, London Archeological Archive and Research Center, White Cube Gallery, Chisenhale Art Gallery, Leighton House Museum and Imperial War Museum: HMS Belfast.

Skeletal Remains 2_Feature

Researching Skeletal Remains in the Night

A bone collection sounds like something that belongs in a scary movie, but for the Joseph Moore Museum, it’s an opportunity for study and a chance to become compliant with federal laws.


Our Faculty

Cynthia Fadem
Associate Professor of Geology

Tom Hamm
Professor of History; Curator of the Quaker Collection & Director of Special Collections

Lyn Koehnline
Curator of the Earlham Art Collection

Heather Lerner
Director of the Joseph Moore Museum; Assistant Professor of Biology

Elana Passman
Associate Professor of History

Annie Ronan
Visiting Assistant Professor of Art History

Susan Wise
Professor of Ancient and Classical Studies

Ann-Eliza Lewis
Joseph Moore Museum Collections Manager
Plan of Study

The Minor

Students choosing a minor in Museum Studies must complete these courses:

  • MUSE 224 The Uses and Abuses of Museums
  • Applied Experience
      • Internship
        In accordance with College guidelines, a minimum of 130 working hours is required to earn three credits. The internship can be taken any time but preferably after MUSE 224. Museum professionals emphasize that this experience is crucial for exploring and deciding whether to pursue museum work. Internships should focus on one or more of the five functions of a museum: collections, conservation, research, interpretation and/or education. Ideally, the internship is spent at a museum accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. Proposals for internships are reviewed by the Museum Studies Committee.

OR

      • Applied group membership at the JMM
        Focusing on collections, outreach, marketing, or exhibit design and construction (i.e. Fab Lab). The animal care applied team is not eligible to satisfy this requirement. Collections and Outreach are dependent upon faculty staffing and will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Students must apply to the applied teams and are not guaranteed acceptance. Completing this requirement over two semesters of 4.5 hours/week is typical and highly recommended, rather than one semester of 9 hours/week which can’t be guaranteed.
        • MUSE 210 Applied Museum Marketing and Communication
        • MUSE 231 Museum Fabrication
  • Two of the following courses:
      • MUSE 215 Engaging Audiences with Outreach and Interpretation
      • MUSE 217 Museum Exhibit Design
      • MUSE/BIOL 241 Care and Use of Collections
      • MUSE/ANCS 282 That Belongs in a Museum
      • MUSE 317 Museum Exhibit Design
      • MUSE 399 May Term
      • MUSE 484 Ford/Knight Research Project
      • MUSE 485 Independent Study
      • MUSE 486 Student Research
      • EDUC 120 Foundations of Education
      • EDUC 212 Leadership and Group Facilitation
      • EDUC 248 Theory and Practice of Education
      • MGMT 312 Leadership and Change
      • MGMT 325 Nonprofits and Civil Society
      • MGMT 354 Entrepreneurial Marketing
      • MGMT 361 Social Media and Marketing
  • Two (or three) of the following courses in one of the focal subject areas as described below: Ancient and Classical Studies, Art, Biology, History, or Geology. It is recommended that the subject area corresponds to the student’s major, but this is not required. Courses taken to satisfy the core portion of the minor above may not also be used to satisfy the disciplinary requirements below (e.g. Care and Use of Collections can only be used to satisfy one requirement for the minor).
      • Ancient and Classical Studies
        • ANCS 241 Ancient Mediterranean History
        • ANCS/MUSE 282 That Belongs in a Museum
        • ANCS 315 Pompeii: Life & Death
        • ANCS 350 Words and Works of Ancient Rome
        • ANCS 351 Words and Works of Ancient Greece
      • Art
        • MUSE/ART 115 Art: Context and Meaning — Part I 
        • MUSE/ART 116 Art: Context and Meaning — Part II
        • MUSE 402 Curatorial Practicum
      • Biology
        • BIOL 240 Care and Uses of Collections
        • BIOL 346 Vertebrate Zoology
        • BIOL 348 Ornithology
        • BIOL 350 Field Botany
        • BIOL 362 Biology of Insects
      • History
        • One elective course of at least three credits
        • One upper-level course designated as "Research Credit"
      • Geology
        • GEOL 314 Interpreting Earth History
        • GEOL 315 Earth Materials
Courses

* Key

Courses that fulfill
General Education Requirements:

  • (A-AR) = Analytical - Abstract Reasoning
  • (A-QR) = Analytical - Quantitative
  • (D-D) = Diversity - Domestic
  • (D-I) = Diversity - International
  • (D-L) = Diversity - Language
  • (RCH) = Research
  • (W) = Wellness
  • (WI) = Writing Intensive
  • (AY) = Offered in Alternative Year

*MUSE 115 ART: CONTEXT AND MEANING — PART ONE (3 credits) 
Presents an introduction of world architecture, painting and sculpture from prehistoric times to the 14th century. Draws from a variety of academic disciplines and is designed to increase appreciation and understanding of art as it relates to its cultural context. Develops critical thinking and analytical skills in response to visual experience. (D-I)

*MUSE 116 ART: CONTEXT AND MEANING — PART TWO (3 credits) 
Presents an introduction of world architecture, painting and sculpture from the Renaissance to the present. Draws from a variety of academic disciplines and is designed to increase appreciation and understanding of art as it relates to its cultural context. Develops critical thinking and analytical skills in response to visual experience. Also listed as ART 116. (D-I)

*MUSE 210 APPLIED MUSEUM MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS (1-3 credits)
Students in this applied team use their communication and marketing skills by communicating with our communities through regular webpage, blog, Facebook and Twitter updates; coordinating with local press, including newspapers, for coverage of events; creating and distributing other advertisements around campus and Richmond; preparing an annual newsletter; and preparing a report covering the semester’s marketing activities and their efficacy (including a comparative analysis of data related to web traffic and visitor attendance) and suggesting future directions (due during exam week each semester or prior to a JMM Advisory Board meeting). Members undergo IT training for managing Earlham-based web pages, and read and sign our Social Media Policy.

*MUSE 215 ENGAGING AUDIENCES WITH OUTREACH AND INTERPRETATION (4 credits)
This course will examine the fields of interpretation and engagement, in which mission-driven programs are used to creatively engage communities at a variety of institutions, especially educational non-profits and governmentally operated sites (e.g. parks, museums, libraries).

MUSE 217 EXHIBIT DESIGN (3 credits)
This course introduces the principles of exhibition design. It will examine the role exhibitions have in communicating knowledge and explore a number of design techniques across disciplines. Students consider the entire process from initial concept through research, design, and fabrication with a considerable focus on narrative aspects of exhibition story telling and the various techniques available to enhance visitor experiences. Techniques for engaging diverse audiences including technology, furniture and lighting, flow, and programming will be considered. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or above. MUSE 224 or another MUSE course is recommended.

MUSE 224 THE USES AND ABUSES OF MUSEUMS (3 credits)
An inquiry into the development, philosophy and management of museums, especially as they relate to education, interpretation, research and conservation. Through lectures, discussions and field trips, students investigate science, natural history, art and history museums. (AY)

MUSE 231 MUSEUM FABRICATION (0-3 credits)
Students in this applied team design, create and maintain objects used for exhibits, research projects, and education that support the Joseph Moore Museum. Students develop skills in project design, teamwork, 3-D fabrication, design, graphics, structures, woodworking, metalwork, scientific illustration and more. The team meets weekly, and members undergo training and certification on large equipment and handtools.

MUSE 241 CARE AND USE OF COLLECTIONS (4 credits)
Natural history, or biological, collections have provided the foundation for the field of biology and the discovery of the processes that underlie the diversity of life on earth. The importance of such collections over time cannot be overstated. Yet formal training in caring for, expanding, and using biological collections is surprisingly lacking. This course aims to introduce students to the wealth of possibilities that exist in biological collections and the practical responsibilities of preserving them. As part of a team, students will gain hands-on practice accessioning, organizing, databasing, communicating with the public about, and conducting research with specimens in the collection. The second half of the course is devoted to research uses of biological collections. Students will read examples in the primary scientific literature of how research using natural history collections has made important contributions to our understanding of the natural world. Because students will read scientific articles that use museum specimens, they should feel comfortable with reading scientific papers and with the content covered in BIOL 111 (i.e. achieved a grade of B or better). Prerequisites: BIOL 111 or instructor approval. Also listed as BIOL 241.

MUSE 282 THAT BELONGS IN A MUSEUM (3 credits)
In an iconic scene in Indiana Jones: Last Crusade, Indiana Jones mutters the famous phrase, “That belongs in a museum!” when a relic is forcibly taken from him. Though the scene is Hollywood fiction, it does serve to highlight real tensions that exist in our culture surrounding antiquities. Simultaneously viewed as objects of material, cultural and aesthetic value, ancient objects occupy a nebulous space in the collective imagination. This course is designed to introduce students to the types of artifacts that survive from antiquity and to explore some of the special challenges associated with antiquities collections. Students will become familiar with the most common materials and methods used in antiquity to create artifacts, develop an understanding of the archaeological processes of deposition, excavation and on-site processing of objects, and study a range of issues associated with the conservation, storage, display and publication of ancient artifacts by museums and universities. Also listed as ANCS 282.

MUSE 317 MUSEUM EXHIBIT DESIGN (3 credits)
This course introduces the principles of exhibition design. It will examine the role exhibitions have in communicating knowledge and explore a number of design techniques across disciplines. Students will consider the entire process from initial concept through research, design and fabrication with a considerable focus on narrative aspects of exhibition story telling and the various techniques available to enhance visitor experiences. Techniques for engaging diverse audiences including technology, furniture and lighting, flow, and programming will be considered. Prerequisite: Sophomore Standing or above is required. MUSE 224 or another MUSE course is recommended.

*MUSE 400/402 CURATORIAL PRACTICUM (3 credits)
The student will gain experience in many facets of museum practice including art handling, documentation, research, writing and presentation Working one-on-one with the Curator of the Earlham Art Collection, each student will select a group of works from the Collection to study. The course will culminate in an exhibit in Ronald Gallery or the Landrum Bolling Center. Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor. Also listed as ART 400/402. (RCH)

MUSE 484 FORD/KNIGHT RESEARCH PROJECT (1-4 credits)
Collaborative research with faculty funded by the Ford/Knight Program.

MUSE 485 INDEPENDENT STUDY (1-3 credits)
Investigation of a specific topic conceived and planned by the student in consultation with a faculty supervisor. Culminates in a comprehensive report prepared in the style of a thesis or research paper.

MUSE 486 STUDENT RESEARCH (1-3 credits)
An investigation of a specific topic conceived and planned by the student in consultation with a faculty supervisor. Culminates in a museum exhibit, design or comprehensive report prepared in the style of a thesis or a scientific paper.