Postgraduate study options for the Museum professional

I work in the museums industry and am considering postgraduate study options. I have found that obtaining further opportunities in curatorship and/or collections management are incumbent on postgraduate qualifications in Museum and Heritage studies.

Currently, I am unsure as to whether or not to specialise with a specific course such as Art Curatorship, or embark on a general course geared at many aspects of museum practice such as Museum Studies.

My question to the forum is what postgraduate course did you undertake and why did you choose it? Moreover, what was your internship experience like?

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Hi Nicole,

 

I'm currently an Archivist interested in Libraries, and am undertaking Museums Studies.  My course is badged as "Museums and Collections" at the ANU (where I started my studies) and simply as "Museums Studies" at the University of Sydney, where I will complete my quals. 

 

I chose the Museums Studies course because I love all collection types - libraries, museums, art collections and archives - and I see that collection management priciples and curatorial practice are readily adaptable across the different types - actually, having experience across different types of collections has helped me understand each one better.  Both courses have great capacity to touch on all aspects of collections - curating, collection management etc etc.  I'm also a proponent of opening doors, not closing them, and felt that doing the over-arching 'Museums and Collections' studies really fell in with that.  It certainly has felt like the right decision so far.

 

I've undertaken internships in a major museum in Sydney and in a small, heritage collection.  Both were phenomenal and quite different experiences - both incredibly worth it.  Whilst I have issues with 'free work' or 'no pay' positions being so established in the industry, I got so much out of my internship experiences, and would recommend it to anyone.  More experience can never be a bad thing.

 

Best of luck,

 

Alli

Hi Alli,

 

Thanks for replying! The Museums and Collections course at ANU was actually the one I was thinking of applying for, to do via correspondence, as it seems to offer the best courses. I felt that it wasn't too specialised on one thing, say curatorship, and seems to also offer more practical components to do with compliance and other nitty-gritty collections management issues.

 

Another thing I have noticed with the Masters programs is that there does not seem to be courses offering training in museum databases such as EMu. Has anyone else noticed this? If so, how have people tried to remedy this?

 

Thanks again Alli,

 

Nicole


Alli Burness said:

Hi Nicole,

 

I'm currently an Archivist interested in Libraries, and am undertaking Museums Studies.  My course is badged as "Museums and Collections" at the ANU (where I started my studies) and simply as "Museums Studies" at the University of Sydney, where I will complete my quals. 

 

I chose the Museums Studies course because I love all collection types - libraries, museums, art collections and archives - and I see that collection management priciples and curatorial practice are readily adaptable across the different types - actually, having experience across different types of collections has helped me understand each one better.  I'm also a proponent of opening doors, not closing them, and felt that doing the over-arching 'Museums and Collections' studies really fell in with that.  It certainly has felt like the right decision so far.

 

I've undertaken internships in a major museum in Sydney and in a small, heritage collection.  Both were phenomenal and quite different experiences - both incredibly worth it.  Whilst I have issues with 'free work' or 'no pay' positions being so established in the industry, I got so much out of my internship experiences, and would recommend it to anyone.  More experience can never be a bad thing.

 

Best of luck,

 

Alli

 

Nicole,

 

I would jump at the chance for thorough training in EMu.  I actually partially selected one of my internship placements based on what cms it would train me in - it seemed to be the only way for me to get that education.  I havent come across it any other way.

 

Cheers,

 

A

Alli,

 

The lack of EMu training is an issue. I have learnt all that I know through work experience only. There are courses through KE EMu based in Melbourne, but they are expensive and who can afford that as a postgraduate struggling to break into the industry? Last time I enquired, the cost was $850 per person, per day.

 

Cheers,

Nicole

Hi Nicole, I have almost finished my Masters in Cultural Heritage as Deakin University (Melbourne) and have found it to be very rewarding. By doing the general program you get a taste for areas in which you may like to specialize and it also provides you with a context in which to assess your personal interests. As you are working in the field however, your may already know where you want to end up, and so the choice becomes a more considered one. Internships and volunteering outside your current employer allow you to develop a variety of skills and understanding of how each organisation operates within specific parameters, and develops familiarity with a variety of systems and collection vagaries. Regarding EMu and other training, familiarity with any collection management system does require training; however the skills and techniques you learn with one system are easily transferable to another once you understand key elements required.

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