Three Courses for the 21st-Century Museum Professional
Running a successful museum today requires not only creativity and passion—but also skills in leadership, management, and audience engagement. You must develop strategies to compete and stay relevant in a changing cultural landscape.
In the following three courses—offered this spring in partnership with the Smithsonian Institute—you can study with experts from one of the world’s leading museums and tackle challenges facing museums today.
Lead the Future of Museums
“The museum business is interesting and unique in that it requires management to carefully blend funding sources in order to produce social good,” says Lawrence Motz, instructor of The Business of Museums. “Understanding those sources and their impact helps museum leaders govern limited resources in the most principled and effective manner.”
Museum leaders play a key role in shaping the future of museums. In Smithsonian and the Twenty-First Century Museum: Leadership Strategies, you’ll study museum leadership and change in the digital age. You explore fundraising campaign strategies and educational outreach initiatives.
Hear from guest lecturers, including Smithsonian staff from museums and archives, education and access, and finance and administration.
Inspire New Perspectives
Despite concerning attendance trends for the arts in general, museums currently occupy a relatively bright spot in our cultural landscape. Annual museum attendance is higher than that of major league sporting events and theme parks combined. This large visitorship puts museums in prime position to serve as a catalyst for the exchange of ideas.
In the course Reimagining Museum Programs for Public Value and Social Impact, you learn to leverage the power of museums to promote critical examination of the world’s challenges and inspire civic engagement.
Engage Visitors Through Performance
Since 2005, the History Alive! theater program at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History has drawn over a million visitors. Through performance, visitors explore new worlds, confront difficult truths, and intimately connect people and ideas to a new understanding of our past.
In the class Museum Theater and Performance, you spend an active learning weekend at the museum, exploring how performance can engage museum audiences.
“My active learning weekend experience at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History offered such an incredible opportunity to work with the Smithsonian collections and expert staff,” says past student Rebecca Torres. Torres is a communications assistant at the Harvard Art Museums and a museum studies degree candidate at Harvard Extension School. “My classmates were museum professionals and educators from around the world, which led to rich conversations around the challenges—and opportunities—for museums today.”