The Concentration in Museum Anthropology is an option for students enrolled in the M.A. in Anthropology program. In adopting an anthropological approach to museums, this concentration is distinct from generalized museum studies in examining curation, exhibition and museum practice from a comparative and global perspective that sees museums as dynamic institutions embedded in particular social and cultural contexts.
In this concentration, students interrogate the ways in which museums not only represent but also construct notions of cultural patrimony, identity, nationalism and cultural meaning. Emphasis is on the role of museums in disseminating and producing anthropological knowledge, using anthropological theory to contextualize and critique museums' practices in diverse settings and working with a collection or exhibits to gain new knowledge.
The Concentration in Museum Anthropology offers theoretical tools and professional skills related to:
- Obtaining critical perspectives on anthropology and museums in the past and present.
- Gaining practical experience in museum collections/exhibition space/curation.
- Developing skillsets for curation and museum exhibition creation based on the interests of the student.
A highlight of the concentration is the course Museum Experience, which is tailored to the student’s interests. In Museum Experience, students critically engage in a hands-on opportunity at a museum, library, archive, lab or other institution or repository. Projects can also include principles of curation, display or analyses of visual/virtual/material/aural culture, data collection at a museum or a museum internship. Students will develop an appreciation of how museum space is constructed, proficiency in data collection or other responsibilities as appropriate and working knowledge of museum materials, including curated and/or exhibited artifacts.