Museum Studies at Tufts University

Exploring ideas and engaging in conversation

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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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Deep Pockets

Today’s  post comes to you from Sally Meyer, current Tufts Museum Studies and History M. A. candidate.

In a blog post titled “The Weird Complicated Sexist History of Pockets,” Rachel Lubitz says that a lack of enough space to hold objects is something women have suffered through for hundreds of years. She finishes with the question “how much longer must we suffer?” While her position seems slightly exaggerated, she makes an important point. Clothing is essential to self-expression and societal understandings. Frequently, clothing can cause people to make judgments about what you value, your gender identity, and what your societal class is. However, the author’s blog fails to acknowledge how pockets and bags contain what we believe we cannot live without. Attachment to these objects, and the importance of pockets that hold them has not changed much in over two hundred years. A pocket that rests behind glass at the Massachusetts Historical Society, confirms this phenomenon.

This particular pocket, though it represents a broad and common need, is believed to have rested on the hips of Abigail Adams, abolitionist, women’s right advocate, and wife of John Adams. Pockets in general, and this one in particular, were not expensive or glamorous objects. Most however, that have survived the last two hundred years are often hand embroidered and decorated. This pocket is a much better representation of what ladies usually wore. It speaks volumes about Abigail Adams but it is also worth study because of what it says about the human and female condition. An analysis of how it was worn and used reveals the natural human attachment to objects.
Women in the 18th century had few rights to property no matter their social class. As such, pockets represented an opportunity to keep personal property close by. Much as people do today, Abigail Adams kept her keys in her tie-on pocket. For 18th century women, keys were indeed important to their status. Having keys close by would be a definitive source of emotional security. Pockets also held personal money. Pockets were valuable on their own, but mostly their value lay in what they contained. In addition to money and keys, women kept jewelry, mirrors, combs, personal letters, and even food in their tie-on pockets.

Pocket believed to have belonged to Abigail Adams at the Massachusetts Historical Society.

Pocket believed to have belonged to Abigail Adams at the Massachusetts Historical Society.

Much of what we carry with us today has only changed slightly since the 18th century. Money and keys dominate listings of what women carried in the pockets tied around their waist. These items ring true to our own pockets and handbags. Car keys, train passes, money, and cellular phones reflect a need to be mobile and communicate at will. House keys, membership cards, calendars, snacks, and bottled water help us make it through our day safely and securely. The concept of objects close at hand has permeated the lives of women and men for hundreds of years and continues to do so.

Pockets and what they contain are important evidence for what we value. Practicality has often surrendered to fashion when women’s clothing designs were not built for practical space. Historians reference pockets and how a lack of them in women’s clothing reflects a subtle sexism. Women are not supposed to need money and “things” in the same way men do. This 18th century pocket does show however, that women did need objects and personal items close at hand. Even the purposes of these items have not changed much at all even as society has shifted. Letters to cellular phones, oranges to granola bars, and pantry keys to car keys are not so different when placed side by side. Abigail Adams’s pocket was saved because it was associated with an important person. The object itself however reflects heavily the human, and female, condition.

Weekly Jobs Roundup

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

2017 VSA Conference Call for Proposals

The Visitor Studies Association (VSA) seeks proposals for session presentations and workshops for the 2017 conference in Columbus, OHJuly 18-22.

VSA seeks to foster a sense of community among its members, who gather once a year to pose intriguing questions, explore diverse opinions, debate controversial issues, challenge assumptions and share their successes and their struggles—in essence, to learn from one another.

This year’s theme, New Pathways in Visitor Studies, we invite conference attendees to look both within and beyond our field for new ways to think about learning, as well as promising approaches to solving current problems. The conference theme seeks to advance the field by challenging conference speakers and attendees to work creatively and collaboratively to deliver reliable new insights about the experiences of our visitors. Participants are strongly encouraged to create session proposals that invite and include people from outside the visitor studies field to stimulate conversation and discussion.

Consider submitting a session and learn more: http://www.visitorstudies.org/conferencemain

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