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How long will it take?

Four semesters

Where can I take classes?
Atlanta Campus

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Atlanta Campus

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Anthropology, M.A. , Museum Anthropology Concentration

Graduate Program Director
Dr. Steven Black
sblack@gsu.edu
404-413-5156

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.

Program Highlights

Students have undertaken internships and placements at national and international museums, including those where faculty have established relationships through their research. These include: the American Museum of Natural History, Field Museum of Natural History Chicago, Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University, the British Museum of Natural History, the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Fernbank Natural History Museum, Zoo Atlanta, the Forensic Anthropology Center at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.  Campus placements include the Dental Microwear Lab, the Archaeology Lab and the Phoenix MARTA collection.

Recent Museum Experience projects:

  • Kimberly Myers (2020) Curated ghosts of skins, bones and wire - The evolution of the museum diorama art form.
  • Christina Rose Joseph (2020) Dietary reconstruction of Australopithecus africanus using dental microwear features.
  • Harpreet Kaur (2020) A critique of the use of race in stature estimation.
  • Angelia Cavallo (2019) The weight of moving objects: Interpretive museum designs and opportunities for the underserved
  • Brendan Harris (2019) Archives internship at the Rollins Heritage Center.
  • Kelsey “Lauren” Bagwell (2019) Osteoarthritis and facet asymmetry of the thoracic spine with respect to sex differences and degeneration during the life course.

  • Macie Orrand (2019) Metric and non-metric analysis of the auricular surface: development of a new auricular surface scoring method.
  • Alexander Kim (2019) A comparison of cercopithecid molar outlines using elliptical Fourier analysis.
  • Sara Gardner (2019) Insights into the Swartkrans Pleistocene bone tool assemblages using microscopy of experimental replicas.
Program Details

In addition to the general requirements of the College of Arts and Sciences, the Department of Anthropology has the following requirements for the M.A. program, including the Museum Anthropology concentration:

  • Two letters of recommendation from individuals who can evaluate the applicant’s potential to do graduate work in anthropology
  • Curriculum vitae or resume
  • Writing sample

Students complete the concentration by undertaking a focused course of study within their overall M.A. in Anthropology program. In addition to completing the required courses for the M.A., Museum Anthropology students must devote 18 of their total course credits to the concentration. Both thesis and capstone students may choose the concentration. There is no special application process other than that for the M.A. program, but students should declare their intention to complete this program of study upon entry to the M.A. program.

Students in the concentration must take ANTH 6150: Museum Anthropology and ANTH 8070: Museum Experience, plus 12 hours of elective courses.

The department offers Graduate Assistantships (GAs) to a number of students each year. The GA includes a $2,000 stipend per semester, as well as a tuition waiver.

For an overview of costs, go to the Student Financial Services website.

Students will learn a varied and complex skillset, including:

  • Research and critical thinking skills
  • Career preparation for work in museums
  • Improvements in writing and the presentation of ideas
  • Analytical skills and organization principles
  • Professional and career development

Description

Careers

The program prepares students for a wide range of career opportunities, including:

  • Research development and design
  • Ergonomics
  • Statistical analyst
  • Museum curatorial staff
  • Database management
  • Grants officer
  • Crime scene investigation
  • Field assistant/supervisor
  • Paleontology (lab/field)
  • Community college instructor
  • Lab manager
  • Cultural resource management
  • Foundation staff member
  • Science education

Contacts

Department Offices
Department of Anthropology
33 Gilmer Street
Georgia State University

Mailing Address
P.O. Box 3998
Atlanta, Georgia 30303

Program Coordinators/Directors

Professor
Frank L’Engle Williams
frankwilliams@gsu.edu
404-413-5154

Associate Professor
Nicola Sharratt
nsharratt@gsu.edu
404-413-5779

25 Park Pl NE #2500
Atlanta, GA 30303

The information shared provides an overview of Georgia State’s offerings. For details on admissions requirements, tuition, courses and more, refer to the university catalogs.