We believe museums can change the world. Our Museum Studies program prioritizes critical engagement with the legacy and possibility of museums. By employing a critical museum studies lens and working to decolonize our curriculum and our own thinking, we prepare our students to become museum professionals ready to make a difference wherever they go. We are seeking change agents ready to embrace and shape our mission. Our goal is to shape emerging 21st-century museum professionals who are responsive to the shifting political, social, and cultural landscapes of an evolving planet that demands a just and equitable world.
The Museum Studies Program at the University of Florida College of the Arts was established in 1999. We are the longest-running Museum Studies MA program in the Southeast. Since its inception, our 2.5 year graduate program has been committed to fostering ethical, socially engaged, and inclusive professionals. Our Master of Arts degree prepares students for a wide range of museum work and future academic endeavors through a rigorous curriculum blending theory and practice.
In the Spring of 2019, we celebrated 20 years of Museum Studies at UF with the two-day Museums Challenge Symposium, exploring museum practice and its relationship to the discipline of Museum Studies. Celebrated keynote speakers included the museum visionaries Kaywin Feldman (Executive Director of the National Gallery of Art), Joanne Jones-Rizzi (Vice President of Science, Equity, and Education/Minnesota Science Center), Laura Lott (Executive Director of the American Alliance of Museums), and Sean Kelley (Senior Vice President + Director of Interpretation/Eastern State Penitentiary Museum).
Museum Studies is dynamic, interdisciplinary, and exciting. We examine the history and theory of museum practice around the world. We also extend beyond theory to create and encourage opportunities for building skill sets outside the classroom. Our students study all areas of museum work, from registration to curatorship, and have plentiful opportunities for hands-on experience.
A degree in Museum Studies prepares future museum professionals to be engaged collaborators in museum work of all kinds. We believe in the cultural connectedness of all heritage professions. We view museum professionals as cross-pollinators with unique theoretical, professional, and ideological skill sets to thrive in all cultural heritage institutions such as museums, libraries, non-profit organizations, and archives.
Our students come from diverse academic backgrounds, including anthropology, art, art history, education, history, music, and more! Our department includes individuals at all points in their museum journey, from current museum professionals to those just starting out.
We encourage our students to pursue interdisciplinary interests through their coursework. Many choose to complete a concurrent graduate certificate, which are offered in a variety of UF departments. These include Historic Preservation, Non-Profit Management, Digital Humanities, Latin American Studies, and many more.
We are committed to expanding professional development and experience for our students. The department facilitates students’ attendance at professional conferences, and our faculty frequently invites museum professionals to speak with their classes. Individuals from a variety of museums and careers are invited to give professional development talks and workshops to our current students.
Every year, the Museum Studies cohort enriches their education and professional development through a trip to a city such as Washington, DC, or New York City. Students meet with museum professionals and experience some of the world’s leading museums.
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