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history and art history


Museum Studies Minor

Morgan Schrock
Morgan Schrock studies a Book of Hours at the Newberry Library.

Starting in the Fall 2017 semester, the SAU Art History Program is rolling out a new career-oriented minor in Museum Studies!

What is Museum Studies?

The field of Museum Studies focuses on the role of museums in contemporary society while also encompassing the practical skills necessary to obtain employment in the variety of positions within the museum industry.

Museum Studies tends to be interdisciplinary in nature, and it supports students interested in pursuing future careers in historical societies, history museums, art museums, children's museums, science museums, auction houses, libraries, and archives. 

Reghan, Cassie, Sarah at CMA in ChicagoWhy should I consider studying Museum Studies at St. Ambrose University?
Very few Midwestern institutions offer Museum Studies, and the creation of a Museum Studies minor takes advantage of the current boom in the museum industry, which is projected to last through 2020. In December 2016, The Art Newspaper issued a special report that detailed the boom in the museum industry. Between 2007 and 2014, nearly $5 billion was spent in the United States on museum expansions, while an estimated $8.9 billion was spent worldwide. This museum boom was also noted in late 2013, when a special report in The Economist cited the increase in museums worldwide, from 23,000 in the 1990s to 55,000+ museums in 2013. At least 850 million visited U.S. museums in 2012, "more than all the big-league sporting events and theme parks combined." Employment projections for workers in the museum industry and related fields is strong.

Erin Johnson at Family MuseumWhat major(s) can be combined with this new minor?
The primary majors that will be served by a Museum Studies minor are Art History, Art, and History, but education and science majors interested in working in children's museums or science museums will also benefit from the program. Interdisciplinary fields such as International Studies and Women and Gender Studies could also be served by the new minor.

What courses will I be able to take for this minor?
Students will have the opportunity to combine courses such as Intro to Museum Studies, Exhibition Planning, and Collection Management with internships, marketing, and courses related to their specific disciplines and museum interests. 

Lauren Emge in CatichWill you help me find an internship?
Yes! The SAU Art History program takes an active role in helping students find internships at museums, galleries, historical societies, and federal agencies. Since 2011, students in our program have interned or held positions at more than 15 sites throughout the Quad Cities area, including:

  • Figge Art Museum
  • Putnam Museum
  • Rock Island Historical Society
  • Rock Island Arsenal Museum
  • John Deere Archives
  • German-American Heritage Center
  • Antique Archaeology ("American Pickers")
  • and the Family Museum.

Students also have pursued internships on campus in the Catich Gallery and the St. Ambrose University Archives. These internships give our students the practical experience they need to be competitive in today's job market, and the variety of host organizations will support Museum Studies students with appropriate experiential learning at a site related to their future career goals.

Very few programs in the Midwest offer Museum Studies, so be sure and check out this exciting new minor!

Contact Terri Switzer for additional information.