What is Museum Registration? How can a specialization in Museum Registration help you succeed in your museum career? The Museum Registration track is one of four professional tracks within the M.A in Museum Professions program offered by the College of Communication and Arts. As one of the most popular tracks in the program, its emphasis is to prepare students for careers as collections managers, registrars and more. Current students, alumni, and staff share their success studying Museum Registration at Seton Hall.
The Museum Registration track uses a mixture of theory and hands-on experiences to train students in proper handling and care of objects in a museum. This includes collections-care basics like numbering, accessioning and deaccessioning, managing loans, object storage and risk mitigation as well as interdepartmental work including exhibit logistics and tour management. Additionally, Registration students learn about the legal and ethical components of managing objects such as indemnity, loans and cultural repatriation. Finally, students on the Registration track complete an internship that puts their classroom skills into practice, giving them real-world collections management experience in a museum.
Katie Nelson, a current student on the registration track, shared that the work of a registrar is important to daily museum operations. “Without collections, there are no museums, exhibitions or programming,” Nelson said. “Registrars are entrusted with documenting and caring for those collections, and to me, that's a very sacred role. I look forward to taking on that role one day, helping a museum fulfill its mission.”
Students on the Museum Registration track complete five courses specific to the track, including Object Care, Museum Registration I, Museum Registration II, Legal and Ethical Issues in Museums, and Introduction to Archives Management. Current registration student Meghan Brady said she learned much from these track-specific courses. “Both Registration I and II were highlights of the program,” Brady said. “Registration I introduced the basics and then Registration II delved deeper into issues affecting the museum world and registrars specifically. Both courses enriched my understanding of a registrar’s role in a museum and the challenges they may face.”
Alumni from the program recognize the strength of the Museum Registration track, as well. One alumna, Christina Ely Milliman, M.A.’04, shared that the Registration track gave her the specialized skills she needed to pursue a successful museum career including techniques for research, teaching, working with Native American art, planning an exhibit from start to finish, interview skills, and more.
Museum Registration students go on to pursue many different museum careers including positions as registrars, archivists, curators, conservators, project managers and more. Milliman, for example, has worked as a cultural programs manager and a director of an education department. She most recently worked as the Director of Museum and Library Collections at the Fenimore Art Museum and The Farmers' Museum, where she oversaw a vast collection of fine art, folk art and Native Indian and agricultural objects. Today, she owns her own pottery, sewn and handmade goods business and teaches as an adjunct instructor in the Museum Studies program for the Cooperstown Graduate Program at SUNY Oneonta.
The M.A. in Museum Professions is designed for individuals interested in pursuing careers in museums or related cultural institutions. Students in the program select one of four professional tracks, including Museum Education, Museum Registration, Museum Management, or Exhibition Development.
The College currently offers three Master's-level programs, including Museum Professions, Communication, and Public Relations. In addition, four dual-degree options, including three accelerated B.A./M.A. programs and a dual M.A. degree with the School of Diplomacy and International Relations are offered.
This story is part of a series highlighting the professional tracks within the M.A. in Museum Professions program.