What is Museum Studies? MS101

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Introduction

Often when I tell people that I am majoring in Museum Studies, I get very confused looks, usually followed by: “What are you going to do with that?” People don’t react the same way when you tell them that you are majoring in exercise science or nursing, do they? As a Museum Studies major, I have encountered people who think that science and math are much better career paths, but those aren’t the paths for me. The reason why people ask me “What are you going to do with that?”is because they don’t think that it is important or at least not as important as majoring in a STEM field. I am here to tell you that majoring in Museum Studies is just as important as majoring in a science or math area.


Why is Museum Studies Important?

Museum Studies is a very important major because we do more than just take classes, we get hands-on experience in the field before we leave university. Not all majors offer this or have the same connections that the museum community has with each other. Where I live in Canton, Ohio, all the local museums work with each other on new exhibitions, research, and finding the right people to talk to. Without people interested in Museum Studies, there wouldn’t be the amount of force in the community to communicate and work together to find what they are looking for.  The Museum Studies program at Walsh isn’t like other majors. Since it is a very specific major, there are not thousands of people or even hundreds who are in this program. This means that the people in this major are very close knit, incredibly nice and respectful, and are willing to help anyone who needs it. We all have different career paths within the museum field, but we have one thing in common: we care deeply for preserving objects and history, whether it is in a museum or not.


What does the Museum Studies Program Do?

At Walsh, I have learned how to identify the themes of a museums’ mission, how to care for different types of objects, working with museum policies and procedures, and how to show respect to certain materials and  view different lens of historical information. I am in my second year of being in Museum Studies so I have taken all the classes I can that are available so far. I have taken Museum Studies 101, the Public History Practicum at The Hoover Historical Center, Introduction to Archives and Records Management, and am currently taking an Exhibition Design class. All of these classes are taught by museum professionals who have been in the field for years and are very knowledgeable about museums, history, and preservation of objects and materials. I have learned so much about museums and with every class, I find myself more and more in love with the idea of working in a museum.  In fact right now, I am an intern at The McKinley Presidential Library and Museum in the Ramsayer Research Library. I work with Mark Holland, the main archivist, who has been helping me learn so much about working in museum archives. I absolutely love going to the museum because I know that I am doing something I love every time I walk inside.



 

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