Why did you decide to pursue the museum studies minor?
I decided to pursue the museum studies minor because, after interning at the National Museum of American History, I knew I wanted a career in museums and I wanted to learn more about the field.
How was your internship experience?
I used my program assistant position at the University of Michigan Museum of Art to count toward the internship. I loved working at UMMA. I helped facilitate many of the lectures and performances held at the museum. It was great to see how UMMA has become a true meeting place of the arts. I learned about all the behind-the-scenes planning that goes into implementing programs. The written assignments helped me connect my experiences at UMMA to the broader themes of the museum studies minor coursework. I also enjoyed walking through the galleries on my way to the office!
How did the virtual exhibit project from Museums 301 help reveal the interdisciplinarity of museums to you?
I did my virtual exhibit project on a road trip that my family took from Kalamazoo, Michigan to South Dakota to see Mount Rushmore. As I worked on it, I began to realize that there were many ways that I could tell my story; I could focus on the tourism aspect, the history of South Dakota, or take a more natural science approach and focus on the wildlife of South Dakota. I found a way to weave these different disciplines into a narrative. The virtual exhibit project also helped reveal the interdisciplinary nature of museums to me when we shared the final exhibits with our classmates. It was amazing to see the many different approaches my classmates took with the project.
Which museums has the minor led you to be involved in?
The museum studies minor helped prepare me for my coursework with the Museum Education Program at George Washington University. I just completed my M.A.T. (Masters in the Art of Teaching) and am now working as an Outreach Program Assistant with the White House Historical Association.
What was one thing that surprised you about museums during your pursuit of the museum studies minor?
The museum studies minor opened my eyes to a broader definition of what a museum is. Classes introduced debates over whether certain institutions could be considered museums, such as the Heidelberg Project. Museums can and should be way more than permanent collections in marble halls. This concept surprised me, and it is something I’ll remember as I enter the field.
How do you feel your life at the university and beyond has been and will be affected by pursuing a museum studies minor?
The museum studies minor increased my appreciation of University of Michigan’s museums. The courses gave me a foundation for understanding of how museums work and current issues facing museums today. The minor helped prepare me for my graduate level coursework and sparked an interest in how museums can play a bigger role in their communities.
Why would you recommend a student to pursue a museum studies minor? 11) Where do you see museums fitting into your future?
I would recommend the museum studies minor because it a wonderful way to learn more about the history, present, and future of museums. You get to learn about the field not just through lectures and discussions, but also through hands on experiences and fun projects. It’s also a great way to explore U of M’s excellent museum offerings.
Where do you see museums fitting into your future?
Museums are my future, especially museum education. I want to help bring museum collections to life with educational programming and materials. Not to mention, I’ll always be an avid museum visitor!