Seton Hall graduate students working towards their M.A. in Museum Professions within the College of Communication and the Arts visited Paris, France, in May to learn more about the design and structure of museums abroad. In an eight-day program titled "Louvre to Louis Vuitton: The Museums and Monuments of Paris," students and faculty visited fifteen museums and historic sites presenting several different subjects and cultures. In some cases, the group was invited to delve deeper into museum organization and logistics, learning about key elements necessary to run a museum.
Dr. Petra Chu, faculty sponsor and professor of Art History/Museum Professions, led students around the historic city to see notable monuments like the Louvre Museum, the Versailles Palace, the Eiffel Tower, and small museums such as the Centre Pompidou and the Grande Hall. The study abroad trip provided students a unique opportunity to study international cultures from a world view, allowing them to witness how French museums and sites present international history and art from their perspective. The group observed many things about French life over the course of their travels, but they also experienced Vietnamese, Arabic, and Egyptian cultures, cuisines, and histories as well.
"I am so grateful to have explored Paris with someone as informative and well-traveled as Petra Chu. She guided us through the city with ease and brought us to museums that I would have never thought to go to, which are now some of my favorite museums. (The Natural History Museum of Paris and Museum Quai Branly)," explained Samantha Becker, a M.A. in Museum Professions graduate student. Becker continued, "The King Tut Exhibition was one of the best exhibitions of the trip. There was a significant flow that educated me on the subject in a manner that was easy to understand, but also profound in nature. Through this exhibition, I learned about the Egyptian exploration of death in terms of royalty and the divine. Although this has been discussed in other Egyptian displays, the message at this particular show was clear, concise and accessible to those speaking languages other than French. I really enjoyed my time, especially this exhibition."
At some sites, students were invited to examine museum work from an administrative standpoint, specifically museum registration and planning. During one site visit, Dr. Hsiao-Yun Chu, an Associate Professor of Design and Design History at San Francisco State University, educated the students on what she called 'the informational elements' of museums. The elements included brochures, written museum guides, text descriptions, and labels. This lesson enabled students to become more aware of the design elements of international museums and how they might vary from American museums. "Once alerted to these design elements, students became very interested in looking at them in other museums as well," Dr. Chu notes.
The Museum Profession's Study Abroad Program is a great way for students to travel the world, but also to understand museum design outside of the American perspective. Previous programs have included visits to the Netherlands, Berlin, and Beijing (and Shanghai). The study abroad program enables students to return to their studies with a new mindset and world view, providing them with a fresh way of looking at museum design and management.
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 Education, Registration, Management and 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.
Categories: Arts and Culture