Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Museum Studies Specialization
What do I need to do to specialize in museum studies?
- There is no formal "admission" into museum studies (or any specialization) within SLIS. A specialization is a suggested, informal concentration of subject matter. M.L.I.S. students can take any courses offered as long as they meet the requirements for the degree. While a series of museum studies courses are available which, when taken together, will provide a good theoretical and practical specialization in museum studies, students are not required to take all of the museum studies courses.
Why should I get an M.L.I.S. if I am interested in working in a museum?
- An M.L.I.S. degree prepares students for a career in museums by providing a different perspective from most museum studies programs, built on many years of conceptual and practical knowledge in the study of information, its use, management, organization and access. Museums, libraries, archives and other information institutions are fundamentally about information — how to collect it, store it, use it, interpret it, design it, organize it and preserve it. These institutions are all service-oriented; they are concerned with user (visitor) behavior, needs and how to better meet those needs.
- The traditional approach to museum studies education focuses on the functions within the museum, teaching students specific techniques in exhibit design, collection management, public programming, administration and conservation/preservation. All of these skills are taught in the M.L.I.S. museum studies specialization, but the courses are not organized into these functionally neat components. Instead, a more realistic approach is taken — one that more closely models the actual dimensions of museum work — in the education of future museum information professionals. The focus on communication, collections and objects, and users presents an active and dynamic framework to help future workers put their knowledge into practice. This approach to education in museum studies is indeed innovative and new.
What can I do with this specialization?
- The museum studies specialization provides M.L.I.S. graduates with the knowledge and skills required not only to work in traditional LIS careers as librarians or registrars in museums, but also to serve as information professionals in many additional capacities in museums and in any type of museum. Depending on a student's background, museum experience, and the courses and workshops taken, graduates with a specialization in museum studies and an M.L.I.S. degree from Kent SLIS will be qualified to work in almost any position within a museum or cultural heritage institution, such as, e.g., collection manager, registrar, director, educator, curator (with appropriate subject qualifications, such as art, history, etc.), exhibit specialist, IT and network manager and librarian.
Can I combine this specialization with another specialization in an area like information technology, digital preservation, or archives and special collections?
- Yes, students may choose to take other courses to complement their interest in museum studies in areas such as digital preservation, archives, information architecture and/or create their own career specialization within museum studies.
Can I complete this specialization as part of an online degree?
- Yes, students can complete the coursework required for both the museum studies specialization and the M.L.I.S. degree online.
Do I need to be a SLIS student to take these courses?
- No, the courses may be taken by graduate students in other Kent State departments such as public history or art education. Similarly, students in museum studies or other graduate programs at other colleges or universities may take these courses, with approval.
What if I have other questions?
- For more information, contact Kiersten F. Latham, Ph.D., at firstname.lastname@example.org.