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Thematic Minor in Museum Studies at Colorado College

Colorado College’s Thematic Minor in Museum Studies explores the museum as a site for the construction, interpretation, and dissemination of knowledge. Involving a broad range of disciplines, the Minor addresses the preservation, display, and interpretation of material culture, with a special emphasis on museum philosophies and practices. Bringing together diverse intellectual perspectives, academic approaches, and research practices, the Museum Studies Minor offers students an additional lens through which they may view and express their intellectual investigations of material culture.

Primary Advisor: Jessica Hunter Larsen, Curator; Secondary Advisors: Professors Bower, Hyde, Kolarik; Associate Professors Bentley, Montano, C. Torres-Rouff

Students pursuing a Museum Studies minor will:

  • Explore the context and uses of cultural and natural objects;
  • Investigate how museums have historically functioned as educational institutions and how that role has evolved;
  • Develop an awareness of the legal, moral, and socio-political issues pertaining to the collection, preservation, interpretation, and display of material culture;
  • Learn to read both the museum collection and its immediate context with greater insight.

The Museum Studies Minor provides an overview of curatorial practices, conservation, object-based learning, and museum history and philosophy, while allowing students the flexibility to concentrate on an area of interest (5 units, minimum). All minors are required to take Introduction to Museum Studies (GS247) plus one course each from Cultural Contexts, Visual Literacy, and Materials and Production.  Students will take an additional elective course from any of the three required categories, or choose an elective that supports an Administrative, Design, or Education focus.  All students will complete an Integrative Experience. Advisor: Jessica Hunter Larsen, in consultation with Minor advisory faculty. jhunterlarsen@coloradocollege.edu; 719-227-8263

Museum Studies Minor Requirements

I. Introduction to Museum Studies (GS247)
II. One course from each of the following three categories

A. Cultural Contexts: Courses in this area address the broader academic contexts in which cultural, natural, or social artifacts are produced, exhibited, and interpreted.

  • AH112: Introduction to Art History
  • AH113 Introduction to Asian Art
  • Other 200-level Art History courses per Minor Advisors’ approval
  • AN 102 Cultural Anthropology
  • AN204 Prehistory
  • AN207 Prehistory of the Andes
  • AN211 The Culture Area
  • EN251 Study of Folklore I
  • SO105 Art and Society

B. Visual Literacy: Courses in this area enhance visual literacy skills through the creation and analysis of artworks, artifacts, or media culture. 

  • PH247 Aesthetics
  • AS103  Introduction to Drawing
  • AS114  Introduction to Three-Dimensional Arts 
  • AS226 Book and Book Structure
  • An approved film studies course which emphasizes visual literacy within film (e.g. FS215 Introduction to Film Studies or CS220 Blacks in the Cinema)

C. Materials and Production: Courses in this area address the specific material properties of cultural or natural artifacts and how those properties inform their manufacture, collection, care, conservation, management, and display.

  • AN 103 Introduction to Archaeology
  • AN 243 Hispanic Folklore of the Southwest I
  • AN 320 Field Archeology
  • CH107 and/or CH108 General Chemistry (which focus on structures, bonding, and the dynamics of change)
  • NS109 Material World
  • Appropriate Topics in Chemistry (e.g., CH100 Art Conservation Chemistry, and CH100 Forensic Analysis of Fakes and Forgeries) that focus on the nature of materials and how they change
  • Appropriate Topics in Physics (PC120, PC220) courses

III. One ADDITIONAL Elective Course: Choose one course from one of the three core categories (Cultural Histories, Visual Literacy, or Materials and Production) OR one course from the following additional categories important in the field of museum studies:

  1. Education
    • ED 250 Power of Arts in Learning
    • ED 320 Teaching Through the Arts
  2. Administration
    • EC 110 Topics in Economics: Arts Administration
    • EC331: Business Organization and Management
  3. Design
    • AS212: Design Workshop
    • DR110: Fundamentals of Technical Theater

Students in Introduction to Museum Studies explore hands-on learning at the Buell Children’s Museum, May 2010.

IV. Integrative Experience: The integrative experience, which builds upon coursework within the minor, will consist of one of the following:

  • A project completed in the context of an advisor-approved museum internship (usually does not provide a unit of credit);
  • A 300 or 400 level independent research project, paper, or exhibition approved by minor advisors in consultation with an area concentration faculty advisor;
  • Completion of a sixth, advanced course from areas II or III with an internal project that addresses an issue related to museum studies. This course and project must be approved by minor advisors and the course instructor.