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Why I Chose Museum Professions: From a Volunteer Position to a Museum Registration Career  

Amanda McGradyAmanda McGrady, a student pursuing her M.A. in Museum Professions, a graduate program within the College of Communication and the Arts, was inspired by an internship at the New Jersey State Museum to pursue a career in the Museum Registration field.

McGrady, a Museum Registration track student, found her passion for museum objects while earning her B.A in history and art history. She was fascinated by the art she studied and, after taking an introductory course on curating, decided she wanted to volunteer in a museum to see if the museum field was the right fit for her career.

McGrady accepted a volunteer position at the New Jersey State Museum as a Fine Arts Registrar where she assisted with the fine arts inventory, exhibit installation and deinstallation and art transportation. After a year of volunteering, she was offered a temporary position as a Curatorial Assistant. In this position, she gained a deeper understanding what it is like to work as a museum professional.

McGrady shared that this volunteer position opened her eyes to her love for museums. "If I had not completed my volunteer work at the New Jersey State Museum I would not have known that a career in museums would have been a fit," McGrady said. "I enjoy working with historic objects and I enjoy the administrivia that comes with running a museum as a registrar."

"After spending a year and a half at the New Jersey State Museum, I decided to return to school to study museum registration," McGrady said. "I lived in New Jersey for most of my life, so I was familiar with the M.A. in Museum Professions program at Seton Hall University and knew it was exactly what I needed for my museum career."

McGrady began her graduate school career excited to learn more about managing museum collections. "The program's two Museum Registration courses with adjunct faculty Antonia Moser has been the most beneficial so far," McGrady shared. "These courses discuss the nitty-gritty details of a registrar's job from condition reporting to insurance or policy write-ups. These are the skills I need to know when I graduate."

"The esteemed professors and faculty have been the greatest asset to my education," McGrady said. "I'm looking forward to Dr. Petra Chu's History and Theory of Museums course. I attended the 2018 Seminar Abroad in the Netherlands under her mentorship and she's a phenomenal professor."

McGrady recognizes the importance of Seton Hall's location. "I have always loved being in the northeast between Philadelphia and New York City," she said. "While I would love to work somewhere in this area, I realize that I could work anywhere, in any part of the country. The program here at Seton Hall has given me connections to new museums and museum professionals, and I'm excited to begin my professional museum career."

The M.A. in Museum Professions is an innovative program 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, Strategic 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.

For more information about Graduate Studies within the College of Communication and the Arts, please contact Dr. Ryan Hudes.

This story is part of a series highlighting why students selected the M.A. in Museum Professions program.

Categories: Arts and Culture , Education

For more information, please contact:

  • Ryan Hudes, Ph.D.
  • (973) 275-4832
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