The museum studies program at City College is a 30 credit program leading to an MA in art history. It offers a flexible curriculum, allowing students to develop their own area of specialization. Although the program has been primarily focused on art museums, issues and practices to other cultural institutions are considered in the required seminars, providing all students with a broader view of the field. In addition to two required seminars and internships described below, students may select from any number of elective courses in art history, history, anthropology, American studies, film, literature, education, or video production. By taking advantage of the cultural institutions of New York City, students have the opportunity to explore any number of career choices.
The following graduate seminars are required of all museum studies majors and are open to other qualified graduate students with permission of the instructor.
This course is designed to introduce students to the field of museum studies. It provides an overview of museum history and contemporary issues. The class meets four times a semester in museums in the metropolitan area where different professionals discuss their projects and what they consider critical issues. The semester ends with a symposium with NYU museum studies students focusing on key topics in the field.
In this course students analyze a group of exhibitions currently in the metropolitan area. Occassionally, these are clustered around a theme such as re-evaluating the retrospective or constructing identity through exhibitions. Each student studies one exhibition in depth, presenting a class lecture on the content and ancillary programs one week and leading a walk through the exhibition the next to evaluate the installation.
All students in the program are required to do two internships. Typically internships consist of two days a week for fifteen weeks, but hours are worked out on an individual basis with the institution. Internships are available in nearly all museums in the city and other cultural institutions such as the Department of Cultural Affairs, selected galleries, or art magazines.
Taught by a museum educator, this course focuses on developing and evaluating museum education programs in museums. In recent years this course has been taught by Sharon Vatsky at the Guggenheim Museum.
Developed in conjunction with the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, this course concentrates on the urban environment and its history as a source for museum exhibitions, with a focus on the immigrant experience. Since the Lower East Side has traditionally been the first stop for entering immigrants and refugees, the course has a mulitcultural focus. This course has been taught by urban anthropologist Diana Wall, author of Unearthing Gotham.