Courses

The IUPUI Museum Studies Program offers multidisciplinary courses that allow you to connect museum theory and methods to real-world practices through applied learning and community engagement. From exhibit development and museum education to collections care and management, your classes will feature hands-on skill-building, individual and team projects, and inspiring guest speakers in order to help you achieve your professional and academic goals. You can also take approved electives in other departments. For a list of courses offered in a specific semester see the Schedule of Classes at Student Central.

Undergraduate Courses

MSTD A403: Introduction to Museum Studies (3 cr.) This survey of museology introduces students to the history of museums and to debates on the philosophical nature of museums and their roles in society. The course covers the types and definitions of museums, traces the history of museums, discusses contemporary museum practice, and examines current issues in the museum profession.

MSTD A405: Museum Methods (3 cr.) This survey of museum practice introduces students to methods, skills, and resources in three areas of museum work: artifacts, interpretation, and organizational administration, as well as to the ethical ramifications of these methods.

MSTD A408: Museum Internship (1 – 6 cr.) Authorization of the instructor required. An arranged learning experience in museum work appropriate to individual career goals focusing on an aspect of museum practice and working with a museum mentor. May be repeated. Prerequisites: A503 and two other Museum Studies graduate courses or consent of the instructor required.

MSTD A409: Applied Research in Museums (1 – 6 cr.). An interdisciplinary research practicum conducted in collaboration with museum studies students, faculty and museum partners. The course provides students with an opportunity to work in conjunction with museum professionals to conduct research and carry out public projects in museum settings. The course may focus on exhibition planning, public programs and symposia, curatorial projects, and national collaborations.

MSTD A410: Museum Education (3 cr.) This survey of museum education introduces students to a variety of professional skills through exercises, projects, museum visitor observation, and in- museum classes. It covers education theory most central to museum practice, the duties of museum educators, and current issues in museum education.

MSTD A411: Object–Based Learning (3 cr.) This class is about objects, broadly construed, and our relationship to them in and out of museum settings. This course will explore the relationship between the object and the viewer from an educational, interpretive perspective. The class will examine the multiple ways that people learn from and with objects in museums using a range of disciplines including education, history, semiotics, material culture, anthropology, and psychology. We will investigate the strategies needed to fully support learning from and with objects in the museum setting and consider how visitors learn through their transactions with objects.

MSTD A412: Exhibit Planning and Design (3 cr.) This course offers a survey of museum exhibit planning and design through an integration of theory and practice. The class introduces students to exhibit development, including exhibit administration, design, and evaluation, and to a variety of professional skills through hands-on exercises, exhibit critiques, museum observations, and in-museum classes.

MSTD A413: Curatorial Practices (3 cr.) This course explores the possibilities for, and consequences of, curating in the museum. By critically examining the creative process of producing exhibitions that convey critical narratives and by applying the practices and methodologies of curators. It explores briefly the history of curating, but will emphasize the contemporary concerns within the field. While inclusive in its disciplinary perspectives, the course in any particular semester may focus on art, anthropological, or historical topics and projects.

MSTD A414: Museums and Technology (3 cr.) This course surveys the growing use of technology in museums. It examines applications for information management in collections, conservation science, and archives. It examines critically the use of technology in the service of education both in exhibit contexts and in the variety of educational programs and web-based dissemination of knowledge.

MSTD A416: Collections Care and Management (3 cr.) A survey of techniques for the management and care of collections in museums. It covers documentation, management of collections, processes, administrative functions, risk management, and ethical and legal issues. The course also covers the physical care and conservation of collections.

MSTD A417: Preventive Conservation (3 cr). This course offers a theoretical and practical investigation of preventive conservation which aims to eliminate or modify conditions that encourage deterioration. Preventive conservation is the broadest technique by which preservation of museum objects and collections is achieved. Emphasis is placed on measures that prevent or reduce the potential for damage and loss. Central to preventive conservation methodology, topics include handling procedures, proper storage, environmental management, agents of deterioration, risk analysis, emergency preparedness and planning.

MSTD A418: Museums and Audiences (3 cr.) This course examines the ways museums seek to better understand their audiences, serve them more effectively, and strive to reach new audiences. The course looks at a broad range of visitor studies and the ways in which museums and audiences interact.

MSTD A421: Museum Theatre and Live Interpretation (3 cr.). The purpose of this course is to provide an in-depth look at the use of museum theatre and live interpretation in museum settings to advance the educational mission and nature of museums. The class examines theatrical techniques, program development and management, and interpretation approaches for a wide variety of museum exhibits and audiences. Students will observe, develop, and implement original museum theatre and interpretation projects as a synthesis and practical application of the knowledge gained. The course will include field visits and observations of various techniques in museum theatre and live interpretation.

MSTD A431: Critical Approaches to Museum Practice (3 cr.). Museums are community resources that present content through a variety of formats ranging from text-rich labels based on collections of artifacts and artwork, to engaging displays and activity-based interdisciplinary experiences and exhibitions. As museums grapple with their changing role within communities, the format and orientation of education programs and exhibitions is changing. Critical literacy and critical pedagogy approaches offer museums a new strategy for achieving civic engagement. This class examines the potential of applying these pedagogical methods to curatorial practices, interpretation, museum education, and exhibition development as a way to focus on engaging the visitor with artifacts, opening up civic discourse, and promoting deeper connection to community.

MSTD A440/ANTH A440: Cultural Heritage (3 cr.) This course explores a variety of issues related the stewardship of cultural property on a local, national, and global scale. Through readings, case studies, discussion, and a semester-long project, students will explore ethical, economic, legal, political, and pragmatic issues related to tangible and intangible heritage and will increase their understanding of the practices and processes of cultural heritage management.

MSTD A460: Current Topics in Museum Studies (3 cr.) Intensive undergraduate-level study and analysis of selected topics in museum studies. Topics will vary from semester to semester. Examples include Indigenous Cultural Heritage; Community Curation and Collaboration; Museum Architecture; Museum Communications; and Museums, Health, and Well-Being. May be repeated for credit.

MSTD A495: Independent Learning in Museum Studies (1-6 cr.) A supervised, in-depth examination through individual reading and research on a particular Museum Studies topic selected and conducted by the student in consultation with a faculty member. May be repeated for no more than 6 credit hours total.

Graduate Courses

MSTD A503: Introduction to Museum Studies (3 cr.) This survey of museology introduces students to the history of museums and to debates on the philosophical nature of museums and their roles in society. The course covers the types and definitions of museums, traces the history of museums, discusses contemporary museum practice, and examines current issues in the museum profession.

MSTD A505: Museum Methods (3 cr.) [Note: Museum Methods may be used as a core course for the Graduate Certificate]. Master’s students with little or no experience in the museum field may use A505 as an elective option, but must have prior approval from the Museum Studies Director in consultation with the student’s academic advisor. This survey of museum practice introduces students to methods, skills, and resources in three areas of museum work: artifacts, interpretation, and organizational administration, as well as to the ethical ramifications of these methods.

MSTD A508: Museum Internship (1 – 6 cr.) Authorization of the instructor required. An arranged learning experience in museum work appropriate to individual career goals focusing on an aspect of museum practice and working with a museum mentor. May be repeated. Prerequisites: A503 and two other Museum Studies graduate courses or consent of the instructor required.

MSTD A509: Applied Research in Museums (1 – 6 cr.). An interdisciplinary research practicum conducted in collaboration with museum studies students, faculty and museum partners. The course provides students with an opportunity to work in conjunction with museum professionals to conduct research and carry out public projects in museum settings. The course may focus on exhibition planning, public programs and symposia, curatorial projects, and national collaborations.

MSTD A510: Museum Education (3 cr.) This survey of museum education introduces students to a variety of professional skills through exercises, projects, museum visitor observation, and in-museum classes. It covers education theory most central to museum practice, the duties of museum educators, and current issues in museum education.

MSTD A511: Object–Based Learning (3 cr.) This class is about objects, broadly construed, and our relationship to them in and out of museum settings. This course will explore the relationship between the object and the viewer from an educational, interpretive perspective. The class will examine the multiple ways that people learn from and with objects in museums using a range of disciplines including education, history, semiotics, material culture, anthropology, and psychology. We will investigate the strategies needed to fully support learning from and with objects in the museum setting and consider how visitors learn through their transactions with objects.

MSTD A512: Exhibit Planning and Design (3 cr.) This course offers an introduction to museum exhibit planning and design through an integration of theory and practice. This class introduces students to exhibit development, design process, and evaluation, and to a variety of professional skills through hands-on exercises, exhibit critiques, museum observations, and in-museum visits. Students learn to build effective design documents, and how exhibit team members contribute to the exhibit design and planning process.

MSTD A513: Curatorial Practices (3 cr.) Curatorial practice today reaches far beyond the direct actions of a museum’s chief curator. Staff across the institution, as well as visitors, donors, artists, and outside scholars can also engage in the curatorial project. In order to better understand contemporary curatorial activities, this seminar-style course will examine current and historical curatorial practices in museums and other exhibition contexts. Theoretical texts will establish a framework in which we will situate our exploration of practical matters. Case studies will introduce a range of approaches to the storytelling practices involved in curatorial work. Over the course of the semester students will also develop and execute their own curatorial project.

MSTD A514: Museums and Technology (3 cr.) This course surveys the growing use of technology in museums. It examines applications for information management in collections, conservation science, and archives. It examines critically the use of technology in the service of education both in exhibit contexts and in the variety of educational programs and web-based dissemination of knowledge.

MSTD A516: Collections Care and Management (3 cr.) A survey of techniques for the management and care of collections in museums. It covers documentation, management of collections, processes, administrative functions, risk management, and ethical and legal issues. The course also covers the physical care and conservation of collections.

MSTD A517: Preventive Conservation (3 cr). This course offers a theoretical and practical investigation of preventive conservation which aims to eliminate or modify conditions that encourage deterioration. Preventive conservation is the broadest technique by which preservation of museum objects and collections is achieved. Emphasis is placed on measures that prevent or reduce the potential for damage and loss. Central to preventive conservation methodology, topics include handling procedures, proper storage, environmental management, agents of deterioration, risk analysis, emergency preparedness and planning.

MSTD A518: Museums and Audiences (3 cr.) This course examines the ways museums seek to better understand their audiences, serve them more effectively, and strive to reach new audiences. The course looks at a broad range of visitor studies and the ways in which museums and audiences interact.

MSTD A521: Museum Theatre and Live Interpretation (3 cr.). The purpose of this course is to provide an in-depth look at the use of museum theatre and live interpretation in museum settings to advance the educational mission and nature of museums. The class examines theatrical techniques, program development and management, and interpretation approaches for a wide variety of museum exhibits and audiences. Students will observe, develop, and implement original museum theatre and interpretation projects as a synthesis and practical application of the knowledge gained. The course will include field visits and observations of various techniques in museum theatre and live interpretation.

MSTD A530: Museum Colloquium (3 cr.) This course provides graduate students with the tools and knowledge necessary to assess, understand, and utilize the links among their education, goals, and career opportunities. It supports graduate students approaching the end of their degree program in 1) exploring the connections between the museum knowledge they have mastered and the skills they have developed, 2) framing and articulating their knowledge and skills as well as their vocational goals to others including prospective employers, 3) developing critical competencies for community-focused museum work, and 4) creating professional plans as they transition into or advance in the work force or pursue further education.

MSTD A531: Critical Approaches to Museum Practice (3 cr.). Museums are community resources that present content through a variety of formats ranging from text-rich labels based on collections of artifacts and artwork, to engaging displays and activity-based interdisciplinary experiences and exhibitions. As museums grapple with their changing role within communities, the format and orientation of education programs and exhibitions is changing. Critical literacy and critical pedagogy approaches offer museums a new strategy for achieving civic engagement. This class examines the potential of applying these pedagogical methods to curatorial practices, interpretation, museum education, and exhibition development as a way to focus on engaging the visitor with artifacts, opening up civic discourse, and promoting deeper connection to community.

MSTD/ANTH A540: Issues in Cultural Heritage (3 cr.) This course explores a variety of issues related the stewardship of cultural property on a local, national, and global scale. Through readings, case studies, discussion, and a semester-long project, students will explore ethical, economic, legal, political, and pragmatic issues related to tangible and intangible heritage and will increase their understanding of the practices and processes of cultural heritage management.

MSTD A548/HIST H548: Museum Administration / Historical Administration (3 cr.) This course will present a broad overview of issues that administrators who work in museums, historical societies, archives, special collection libraries, and other cultural resource agencies experience in their careers. In this course the term “administrator” applies to both the head of an organization as well as mid-level managers. In addition to discussions that are unique to agencies that collect, preserve, and share cultural resources, that the class will also look broadly at trends in management techniques and leadership that can apply to any non-profit organization.

MSTD A560: Current Topics in Museum Studies (3 cr.) Intensive graduate-level study and analysis of selected topics in museum studies. Topics will vary from semester to semester. Examples include Indigenous Cultural Heritage; Community Curation and Collaboration; Museum Architecture; Museum Communications; and Museums, Health, and Well-Being. May be repeated for credit.

MSTD A595: Independent Learning in Museum Studies (1-6 cr.) A supervised, in-depth examination through individual reading and research on a particular Museum Studies topic selected and conducted by the student in consultation with a faculty member. May be repeated for no more than 6 credit hours total.