Museum Studies at Tufts University

Exploring ideas and engaging in conversation

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What We’re Reading: African-American Museum Cafe Serves Up Black History With Every Forkful

Today’s What We’re Reading post comes to you from Angela Foss, Program Administrator for the Museum Studies program and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences here at Tufts.

An NPR article titled “African-American Museum Cafe Serves Up Black History With Every Forkful” details how the new National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC includes a cafe that serves up traditional African-American cuisines from four regions of the US: the North States, Western Range, Agriculture South and Creole Coast. “The idea is to expand people’s understanding of just how much African-Americans have contributed to our nation’s culinary heritage, says Joanne Hyppolite, curator for the cultural expressions exhibits that feature foodways, culture and cuisine.”  But the cafe doesn’t just offer soul food. It offers items that visitors may never have heard of or tasted before in an effort to further educate visitors on African-American life and cuisine.  In this way, the museum has created an immersive experience to expand the visit and include a new form of sensory education: taste.

What do you think of this initiative, and how do you think it could be translated to other museums? Should it be utilized all the time, or just for special exhibitions? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

NEMA Conference 2016 Review: Where Do We Go from Here?

In the wake of this year’s presidential election, the 2016 New England Museum Association Conference was “the best cure for a political hangover,” as NEMA Executive Director Dan Yaeger put it. This year’s theme, “Plug In: Museums and Social Action,” seemed even more pertinent than we had perhaps realized, as Wednesday morning saw many conference-goers overwhelmed with emotion about our country’s political state. I could have cut through the thick tension in the air with the butter knife on my table at lunch that day. Yet poignant keynote performances by Bated Breath Theatre Company and Annawon Weeden that focused on social justice and knowing our country’s full history seemed to inspire us to come together both as a profession and as a community. Instead of fixating on our political differences, we were challenged to channel that intensity and put our thinking caps on to have constructive conversations over the next three days. Sessions like “Encouraging Civic Engagement,” “Engaging Visitors in Conversation Forums About Societal Issues,” and “Museums at the Intersections: Strategies for Community and Justice Issues” were just a few of the many that asked the critical question of what our social responsibility is to our communities and how we as museums can do more for them than just provide a fun day out on a Saturday. While the conference started out on a shaky and uncertain note, that note soon blossomed into a chorus of voices talking and communicating about potential answers to these questions and how they could play out in our museums. Now, it’s time to put these ideas into motion. Our country is at a crossroads and more than ever our museums need to ask themselves those same critical questions and determine whether or not they will act on these conversations or stay silent.

If you attended all or part of this year’s NEMA Conference and would like to contribute a post about any part of it (a specific session, a conversation you had, the conference as a whole, etc.), please use the “Contact Us” box at the bottom of this page or send us an email at tufts.museums.blog@gmail.com.

Weekly Jobs Roundup

Here’s our weekly roundup of new jobs. Happy hunting!

Weekly Jobs Roundup

Here’s our weekly roundup of new jobs. Happy hunting!

Upcoming Tufts Museum Studies Open House

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Museum Studies Open House
Tuesday, November 15, 2016
6:30-8:00 pm
Register by email: Angela Foss
Want to learn more about the masters of art and certificate programs in Museum Studies at Tufts University? Register for our open house!

This flexible program is suitable for both beginning and mid-level museum practioners. We offer three masters’ degrees that combine exciting coursework in a specific subject with pre-professional training for the museum field. We also offer a certificate program that provides post-baccalaureate students with the chance to discover new skills, learn about current trends, and participate in an internship at a museum anywhere in the world.

Students also benefit from Tufts’ location in the greater Boston area, one of America’s most important hubs for museums and historical societies. The wealth of museums provides a host of opportunities for on-site learning, internships, and networking.

  • The Master of Arts: Art History and Museum Studies gives students advance qualification in art history and a broad introduction to museum work and theory. The program integrates the theoretical study of art history with the practical concerns of displaying, managing, and interpreting art objects in a variety of museum settings.
  • The Master of Arts: History and Museum Studies combines theory and practice by bringing together scholars of the Tufts history department and professional experts in museums studies.  By emphasizing historical scholarship and practical application, the program prepares students for public history as well as museum work.
  • The Master of Arts: Museum Education prepares students to work with audiences of all ages, interests, and abilities in the informal learning environment of a museum. We seek applicants who can bring new thinking and leadership to the field at a time when museums are increasingly focusing their resources on community engagement, civic issues, and global problems. Students take courses in education, human development, psychology, museum studies and content areas such as history or art history.
  • The Museum Studies Certificate Program is designed for recent college graduates, career changers, and those who currently work in museums. Museum studies courses, scheduled in the evening, teach new skills and address current trends in the field. The program can be completed on a part-time basis in as little as a year, with classes taught at night.
If you know anyone who wants to be part of today’s innovative museum culture and seeks a career dealing with new ideas, intriguing objects, and evolving technologies, I hope you’ll encourage them to apply to the museum studies program at Tufts University.  Please tell your staff, volunteers, interns, and friends about the upcoming Open House, and more information can be found on our website.
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