Six students from the Center for Graduate Studies' M.A. in Museum Professions program, recently took part in a 10-day study abroad course in Berlin, Germany. Berlin: Reinventing the Cultural Capital, was taught by Dr. Juergen Heinrichs, and was designed to give students a comparative perspective between museum operations and preservation in America versus other countries. Students were also exposed to the history on the transformation of Berlin’s museum landscape and Germany’s cultural history and impact.
Historically, students in the M.A. in Museum Professions program often have the opportunity to participate in study abroad opportunities. On these trips, the destinations of which have included Amsterdam, Beijing (and Shanghai), Berlin, Florence, Paris, and Rome, students visit numerous museums and historic sites, often looking "behind the scenes," to see how museums outside of the United States operate.
"My favorite part about the trip was the opportunity to explore the Museum Island in Berlin," shared Museum Professions student Jennifer Reilly. "The Pergamon Museum and the Neue Museum were also highlights due to my background in archaeology. I was able to see the Ishtar Gate and the bust of Nefertiti, which was a dream come true."
When offered, study abroad trips are unique opportunities to provide students with an international perspective, network with museum professionals, and witness first-hand cultural sites and works of art they learned about in the classroom. Students reflect on their shared learning experience, and come back to the United States with unforgettable memories and a new perception on the museum industry that they can use in their future work.
"Studying abroad provided me with a more hands-on approach to the material I have learned in the classroom," noted Museum Professions student Felicity Bennett. "I gained valuable insight from museum professionals, and learned how different countries choose to portray their past. It was interesting to see art storage areas in person, and how management styles can differ across the globe, especially in government-run institutions."
Study abroad opportunities can also contribute to a student’s shift in their academic and professional objectives. Witnessing new experiences, while engulfed in a different culture, can create unique personal growth and understanding, which may open a new path for a student’s future.
"Studying abroad definitely contributed to my graduate school experience," shared Museum Professions student Kathryn Baurhenn. "My experience in Germany helped me shape my thesis, and I am now planning on taking an international approach when writing my paper. This entire trip has encouraged me to expand my horizon for career opportunities. I now want to look internationally for museum positions, and I earned a new perspective that I may not have been able to gain otherwise.”
“I highly recommend prospective and current Museum Professions students to study abroad,” added Museum Professions student Aimee Tillyer. “It offers the opportunity to meet professionals in the museum field and to learn from their personal and professional experiences. Students are able to gather incomparable knowledge of how other countries support their arts and humanities institutions and receive answers to questions that a textbook may not provide."
The M.A. in Museum Professions is an on-campus graduate program designed for individuals interested in pursuing careers in museums or related cultural institutions. Students select one of four professional tracks including Museum Education, Museum Registration, Museum Management, or Exhibition Development.
Categories: Arts and Culture