Beginning in Fall 2009, the University will make an addition to its already extensive list of undergraduate minors.

The minor in Museum Studies is an 18-credit-hour program that will incorporate themes ranging from museums in society to objects and collections.

According to the University’s History of Art website, the new minor’s goal will be to teach students the purpose of museums, in both a historical and modern context, and prepare them for a number of careers in museum-related fields.

The minor will also focus on the ways in which museums add meaning to objects, and how such objects are redefined within the context of the museum setting.

Raymond Silverman, director of the Museum Studies Program and professor of History of Art and Afro-American and African studies, said the minor is open to all students who are interested in museum work.

“Being a minor, it’s going to be an introduction to museums,” Silverman said, “It will be a stepping stone into jobs at a range of different types of museums, depending on the interests of the student. A very conscious decision was made not to make it a concentration.”

He added that the minor will give students the flexibility to work in any section of a museum that interest them.

“Larger museums have a good deal of specialization,” Silverman said.

Core courses will include MUSEUMS 301, which will address the roles of public museums in society and provide an introduction to the field of museum studies, and MUSEUMS 401, which will explore the depiction of racial, ethnic, gender and religious issues in museum displays.

Students will also be allowed three elective courses that must be approved by an academic advisor. The courses must be in one of three areas — institutions, objects and collections or society — each of which relate to the minor itself.

Silverman said students will gain a sense of “museum literacy” from the minor, learn about the historical role of museums in society, and achieve a heightened awareness of different cultures and cultural assets.

Although the College of Literature, Science and the Arts will offer the Museum Studies minor, students from all across the University may elect to take it.

Before now, Museum Studies was a graduate-level concentration.

According to Silverman, students interested in curatorial work at a large museum, like the Detroit Institute of Arts, need a master’s degree or a Ph.D., but that a bachelor’s degree will usually suffice for work in smaller museums.

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