University of Iowa Museum Studies
The University of Iowa
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences



University of Iowa Museum Studies Program


Enroll in the Museum Studies Program

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Museum Studies - Curriculum


It is now possible for you to officially register online through the updated ISIS system. It is important that every student pursuing the Museum Studies certificate register through ISIS. Here are the instructions for registering:

Go to the ISIS log in page
Log in
Go to the Student Records Page
Open the Programs of Study and Advisor link
Use the pull down menu in the Add a certificate box at the bottom of the screen to select Museum Studies CER.
Click the Add a certificate to your record button.

Once you are registered through ISIS you will be able to check your progress in the program through the online degree audit.

Check your progress towards the Museum Studies Certificate on-line on the ISIS Degree Audit (show me how!)

Courses At A Glance:

Spring 2015 courses

MUSM 3003 (24:103) Natural History Research Collections 3 s.h.

MUSM:3004 (024:104) Exhibition Planning  3 s.h.

MUSM:3237 (024:124) Politics of the Archaeological Past 3 s.h.

MUSM:3500:0EXV (024:147) Nonprofit Organizational Effectiveness I 3.s.h.

MUSM:6010 (024:247) Nonprofit Organizational Effectiveness I 3 s.h.

MUSM:4081:0001 (024:162:001) The Art Museum: Theory and Practice    3 s.h.

MUSM:4080:0IND (024:180:IND) Museum Internship   arr.


Fall 2014 courses

MUSM:3001:0SCA (024:102:SCA) Introduction to Museum Studies 3 s.h

MUSM:3120:0SCA (024:106:SCA) The Natural History Museum: A History 3 s.h

MUSM:4130:0001 (024:115:001) Museum Literacy and Historical Memory 3 s.h

MUSM:3200:0SCA (024:120:SCA) Collection Care and Management 3 s.h

MUSM:3500:0EXW (024:147:EXW)/ MUSM:3500:0SCA (024:147:SCA)/ MUSM:6010:0SCA (024:247:SCA) Nonprofit Organizational Effectiveness I 3 s.h.

MUSM:3600:0EXW (024:148:EXW) Nonprofit Organizational Effectiveness II 3 s.h.

MUSM:3080:0001 (024:181:001) Marketing, Promoting, Politicking Public Art 3 s.h.

MUSM:4080:0IND (024:180:IND) Museum Internship arr.



Course Distribution

Courses listed below may be used toward the Museum Studies Certificate. Students also may request permission from the Program Director to use courses not currently cross-listed, if the content of the course and the student's work within the course fits into one of the Program's defined Focus Areas.

After completing at least 12 s.h. of foundation course work, students complete an internship (minimum of 3 s.h.). A Museum Studies advisor works closely with students and affiliated faculty to ensure that internships provide students with the instruction and experience they need.

Courses applied toward the Museum Studies Certificate also may be used to complete the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences General Education Program or requirements for a major or minor. However, students may not use more than 6 s.h. of course work applied toward another major, certificate, or minor to complete the requirements of the Certificate in Museum Studies.

Summary of Requirements

I. Introduction to Museology (3 s.h.)
II. Three Courses from three of the following four Focus Areas   (9 s.h.)
      "Museum Administration and Management"
      "Museum History, Theory, and Culture"
      "Exhibition Development and Public Education"
      "Collection Care and Management "
III. Three hours of electives from any of the four Focus Areas above (3 s.h.)
IV. Internship: 3 s.h.

Total number of hours required for the certificate: 18 s.h.


Courses and Curriculum

Some courses offered or accepted by the Museum Studies Program are listed below. Some courses may be taken on-line. To find courses offered for the current semester, please check ISIS listings for Museum Studies (Department Number: 024 or MUSM) and peruse individual department listings on the ISIS search page. For information about all courses offered see the General Catalog.

MUSM:3001:0SCA (024:102) Introduction to Museum Studies   3 s.h.
Overview of museum history, function, philosophy, collection and curatorial practices, governance and funding issues, exhibition evaluation, audience studies; American cultural institutions. GE: humanities. Same as ANTH:3001 (113:103) , EDTL:3001 (07S:112), SIED:3001 (097:115).

MUSM:4080:0IND (024:180:IND) Museum Internship               arr.
Working experience in functions, departments, programs of the sponsoring museum; relation to museum's overall mission and museum field in general.


Museum Administration and Management

MUSM:3100 (024:100) Historic House Management and Preservation 3 s.h.
Management, preservation, interpretation, and basic operations of historic structures and the museums they serve. Prerequisites: 024:102.

MUSM:3500:0001 (024:147) Nonprofit Organizational Effectiveness I                3 s.h.
Operational and financial aspects of nonprofit management, including organization mission and governance; strategic planning necessary for effective management, including finance, budget, income generation, fund raising; guest presenters. Also offered as Distance Education Course MUSM:3500:0EXW (024:147:EXW). Same as ENTR:3595 (06T:144), MGMT:3500 (06J:147), SSW:3500 (042:157), NURS:3595 (096:168), MUSM:3500 (024:147), RELS:3500 (032:127).

MUSM:6010 (024:247) Nonprofit Organizational Effectiveness I                  3 s.h.
Operational and financing aspects of nonprofit management; mission and governance of organization; strategic planning for effective management, including finance, budget, income generation, fund-raising. Also offered as Distance Education Course MUSM:9150:0EXW (024:247:EXW). Same as URP:6278 (102:278), SSW:6247 (042:247), HSS:9850 (028:257), RELS:9150 (032:227), LAW:8751 (091:320), HMP:6360 (174:247), SLIS:6430 (021:263), MGMT:9150 (06J:247).

MUSM:3080 (024:181) Marketing, Promoting, Politicking Public Art                3 s.h
How public art projects are conceived, created, and paid for; projects sponsored and funded by federal, state, and local governments and private businesses 1960 to present; projects' operational structures, how artists are selected; Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Serra's Tilted Arc, recent projects. Requirements: an introductory course in an appropriate area for art majors. Same as 01H:180.

Exhibition Development and Public Education

MUSM:3004 (024:104) Exhibition Planning                3 s.h.
Preliminary work for and process of developing museum exhibitions; history of exhibit design, evaluation, budgets, teams and team member roles, working with community and special interest groups, methods of production and display; students research a topic, choose artifacts and images, and create a narrative and exhibit script. Prerequisite: MUSM:3001 (024:102) or consent of instructor.

MUSM:4000:0SCA (024:121:SCA) Art and the Power of Placement                3 s.h.
How placement of artworks in a setting and their relationship to each other affect the way in which viewers understand the works;infuence of curator's choice of placement, sequence, height, wall color, and so forth; varied settings, with focus on display issues in art museums; includes gallery and museum experiences. Prerequisite: MUSM:3001 (024:102).

MUSM:3110:0SCA (024:110:SCA) Learning in Museums                3 s.h.
Introduction to theory and practice of learning in museums; identification of institutional objectives; goals that facilitate learning in museum setting; development of educational materials and programs. The course provides an introduction to theory and practice of learning in museums. Students will identify institutional objectives, set goals that facilitate learning in the museum setting, and develop educational materials and programs.

Museum History, Theory, and Culture

MUSM:4130:0001 (024:115:001) Museum Literacy and Historical Memory                3 s.h.
Concepts and methods for understanding the role of museums in shaping knowledge and collective memory of history; institutionally based exhibits and collections, historical markers and public monuments, public holidays and events, media and artistic works that interpret the past; how events, people, and civic ambitions are memorialized and how memories of them are shaped; appearance of museums and related practices in the non-Western world after 1850. Same as HIST:4130 (016:120).

MUSM:4081:0001 (024:162:001) The Art Museum: Theory and Practice                3 s.h.
Introduction to different aspects of art museums; emphasis on roles of art historians, especially curatorial practice; current and historical theories and practices of art exhibitions; varying debates of the politics of display; art museum professions; the many facets of art exhibition preparation; the University of Iowa Museum of Art collections. Same as ARTH:4081 (01H:181).

MUSM:3237 (024:124) Politics of the Archaeological Past                3 s.h.
How control over management of material remains of the ancient past, and representations of that past, intersect with the identity of diverse groups, including archaeologists, indigenous peoples, national governments, collectors, ethnic minorities and majorities, museum curators; struggles for control of the archaeological past at different scales (artifacts, skeletal remains, sites, imagery, narratives) and in different regions of the world. This class explores how control over the representation and management of the ancient past has intersected with the identity of diverse groups, including archaeologists, indigenous peoples, and national governments. Same as ANTH:3237 (113:124).

MUSM:3120 (024:106) The Natural History Museum: A History 3 s.h.
A study of the history of the natural history museum:  its origin, character and evolution, anecdotes and personalities, how natural history museums influenced society, and their continuing relevance to a technological world. Available in Fall 2012.

Collection Care and Management

MUSM:3003:0SCA (24:103) Natural History Research Collections 3 s.h.
Techniques, methods, and issues specific to natural history research collections; practice in preparing and cleaning specimens; role of natural history specimens in modern scientific research.

MUSM:3200:0SCA (024:120) Collection Care and Management              3 s.h.
How a museum's management policy relates to its administrative, legal, and ethical obligations to its collections; acquisitions, deaccessions, collection use, data standards, storage environment, health, safety, documentation. Same as GEOS:3200 (012:120).

MUSM:4200 (024:140) Advanced Collection Care and Management                3 s.h.
Builds on MUSM:3200 (024:120); types of museum objects and materials, their care and management; care, storage, and use of paper, books, photographs, works of art, electronic information media, textiles, furniture, archaeological artifacts, natural history specimens, archives; digitization projects, integrated pest management, risk assessment, museum security, museum construction and renovation, grant writing; for students planning museum careers or for professions that require care of collections. Prerequisite: GEOS:3200 (012:120) or MUSM:3200 (024:120). Same as GEOS:4200 (012:160).

MUSM:4900 (024:155) Preservation and Conservation of Collection Materials                3 s.h.
Overview of responsible stewardship of library and archival collections; principles and practice of book conservation with focus on prototypes for conservation rebinding; appropriate care of books, papers, photographs (traditional and digital), film, and other non-print items; fundamental instruction in methods of page repair, investigation of eight historical prototypes, construction of related conservation binding models; lecture, discussion, student presentation, and hands-on activities. Same as: 021:150

MUSM:3060:0WKA (024:160:WKA) Introduction to Archives                1 s.h.
Purpose and function of archival repositories (as compared with libraries); professional responsibilities of archivists; theoretical basis of currently accepted practices; collection solicitation and development; appraisal of records and manuscripts; processing, or arrangement and description, of collections; archival preservation and conservation, including digital preservation; reference services; outreach efforts; current issues, including electronic records, privacy and copyright.

MUSM:3090:0WK1 (024:190:WK1) Topics in Museum Studies               1 s.h.
The Continuing Role of Real Collections (Spring Break Workshop)
Systematic and analytic methods used for research in physical collections; tutorials in collection building, curation, and preservation; designed by members of the University of Iowa Collections Coalition. Same as GEOS:3090 (012:159)


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