Museum Studies

Destiny Crider (interim program director)

The museum studies minor is a course of study intended to introduce and familiarize individuals with the historical and theoretical foundations of contemporary museums in order to better understand the history of museums and their impact on social, civic, and cultural life. It provides students with the practical skills and basic knowledge needed to work in museums and other cultural institutions.

A Luther program for some 30 years, the museum studies program furthers the college's commitment to the liberal arts by offering students a venue in which to apply their knowledge. It is further intended to meet several key components of the college's mission, including the promotion of public service, the preservation of tradition, and a strong emphasis on moving students beyond immediate interests and knowledge toward a recognition of the larger world around us.

The museum studies minor involves three required courses (MUST 120, 220, and MUST 380) and three elective courses. Electives may originate in any number of departments but should bear upon some aspect of material culture or subject matter that is relevant to museum work. Electives may involve museum administration, public relations, fine art, folk art, anthropology, natural history, environmental studies and biology. (Students may petition the program director to accept courses not on the list below to satisfy the elective requirement, given they can justify its relevance to museums and museum work.) At least one elective must come from outside the student's major field of study.

Required for a minor: MUST 120, 220, 380 and three courses from the following list (one of which must fall outside of the student's major discipline): HIST 126, 226, 227, ANTH 101, 104, 302, 305, ART 290, ARTH 251, 252, THE 203, ENVS 133, 134, BIO 112, 246, 251, 253, 258, SCI 121.

View program learning goals for an explanation of learning outcomes in Museum Studies. 

Museum Studies Courses

MUST 120 Introduction to Museums

  • 4 hours

The history of museums, archives, and collections and the nature and variety of museum work in contemporary society. An introduction to museum organization; museological theory and philosophy; concepts of museum exhibition and interpretation. Explores how collections and objects can be used as sources of meaning and information, and how museums and numerous other institutions can be used as educational resources. Workshops with Luther College Collections and Archives staff, as well as case studies at the Vesterheim Norwegian-Amercian Museum and Effigy Mounds National Monument. Offered alternate years.

MUST 220 Collections Management

  • 4 hours

Addresses specific topics of curatorship and managements of collections, including: acquisition practices; legal and ethical issues; collections organization, conservation,and preservation; and data collection, organization, and management. The course will emphasize practices and technology that will ensure the continued potential and relevance of objects in the pursuit of knowledge and enjoyment of science, art, and nature. Offered alternate years.

MUST 380 Internship

  • 1, 2, or 4 hours

Provides students with hands-on experience that stresses the kind of museum work relevant to their major disciplinary field including, but not limited to: research, exhibition, education, collections management, preservation, and administration. The end-result being a tangible representation of their experience, whether it be a research document, portfolio, website, exhibit, or other product approved by their internship coordinator. This end product must be exclusively the student's own work. The internship must be completed at a nationally or regionally recognized, reputable museum or cultural institution and is subject to the approval of the program director. Students taking 2 credits must work a minimum of 75 hours and those taking 4 credits - a minimum of 150 hours in the semester.