Museum Studies Core Values

To aid in structuring the museum studies specialization and to ensure that the courses fit into the emerging educational environment within SLIS, the following set of core values has been developed.

Museums as Knowledge Centers

These courses recognize:

  • Museums as places that create, organize, use, disseminate, and engage people with information;
  • That museum objects play a significant role in museums and society, as meaningful physical documents;
  • That there are points of intersection between museums which do these things, and libraries and archives which functions as informational, educational, and cultural institutions; and
  • The extent to which digital information technology is further blurring the boundaries between libraries, archives, and museums.

Holistic Approach

  • Within these courses, the museum (as an information system) is the center of study, not content of the museum (e.g., art, history, science), in contrast to other programs that take the subject content of museums as the focus for student training;
  • Courses view the study of museums as the core starting point, allowing content to filter in from previous degree work, other electives or research;
  • Because they are embedded in a library and information science structure, these courses allow students to cut across spectrum of traditional academic disciplines;
  • This approach strengthens the skills of the future museum professional by giving them a broader perspective, larger skill set, and adaptability.

Collaboration and Connectivity

  • Working with other people, departments, and institutions is considered a basic theme across these courses.
  • With collaborative ventures come more connectivity and the creation of multiple networks in-between.
  • Embedding collaborative and connective attitudes as a foundational value instills these values in our students, helping them to take these principles into the field with them.

Balance (Theory and Practice)

  • Both theory and practice are instrumental in understanding the world of museums.
  • In all courses, an effort will be made to not only balance theory and practice but to help them speak to each other.
  • Instructors will demonstrate and instill in students the compatible and necessary relationship between conceptual thinking (theory) and pragmatic endeavors (practice).
  • Students will understand the value of balancing these two traditionally conflicting epistemologies and carry this value into their future careers.
  • As part of this value, it is important to encourage the ethic of lifelong learning and critical thinking skills in students thereby creating a generation of information professionals who infuse the balance of theory and practice into their work environment after their formal training is complete.

Real-World Experience

  • In all possible scenarios, students will be expected to apply their classroom learning to real situations, whether lab-facilitated or in a museum.
  • Coursework will involve, whenever possible, application of principles in real scenarios or in a physical museum environment.
  • Volunteer work in museums is encouraged beyond these courses because work in museums expands the learning process, builds resume material, and increases the confidence levels of students.