Adapting Museum Studies Programs for a Digital Future

Lightning Talk
Caitlin Kearney, George Washington University / Museum of American History, USA, Kelsey Johnston, The George Washington University , USA

What will help improve museum studies programs for the next cohort of emerging museum professionals? Constant evaluation and recommendations by the graduates themselves. This lightning talk, from the perspective of two museum studies students about to complete our museum studies degrees, discusses the need for greater focus on exposing students to digital and technical skills. We will share our own experiences encountering roadblocks in accessing the digital skills we needed, describe how we sought out digital educational tools outside of a formal Master’s program, and make our recommendations for how digital skills can be more holistically incorporated into museum studies programs to better prepare students for real job opportunities that increasingly require tangible digital skills.

As museum studies programs remain structured around traditional, siloed concentrations in areas like collections and administration, we want to offer our suggestions for how the training of future museum professionals can become more cross-disciplinary and meet the needs of increasingly generalist job demands. We recognize that digital work is still not a major focus at many cultural institutions, but perhaps we as a field can begin to transform this by providing museum students with more serious tools and training.

Bibliography:
Sally J. McMillan and Jang-Sun Hwang, ”Measures of Perceived Interactivity: An Exploration of the Role of Direction of Communication, User Control, and Time in Shaping Perceptions of Interactivity,” Journal of Advertising Vol. 31, No. 3, Advertising and the New Media (Autumn, 2002), pp. 29-42.

Michael Krigsman and Vala Afshar “Interview with Sree Sreenivasan, Chief Digital Officer, Metropolitan Museum of Art,” CXO Talk, Episode 89, 2014.

Jayson DeMers, “5 Skills Your Social Media Manager Must Have,” Forbes, June 8, 2015.

Jasper Visser, “Timing is everything – When do people consume your museum’s new media activities?” The Museum of the Future, December 3, 2010.

Natalia Dudareva, “Museums in social media,” Museums and the Web Florence 2014.

Shanelle Mullin, “How to Setup the Perfect HootSuite Dashboard,” Onboardly.com, December 10, 2014.

Christine Rosa “Preserving New Media: Educating Public Audiences through Museum Websites,” Art Documentation: Journal of the Art Libraries Society of North America, Vol. 34, No. 1 (Spring 2015), pp. 181-191.