Course Description

460.675 - Leadership of Museums

A museum career offers many opportunities for leadership. Whether you want to be a museum director or not, throughout your career you will lead individual projects, teams, departments, or organizations. This course is designed to introduce students to the nature and practice of leadership in the 21st-century museum. Regardless of an institution's age, size, location, discipline, or its focus, leadership determines its tenor and tone. Leadership frames a museum's intangible values while underpinning its tangible assets. It comes in many guises, proactive, reactive or benign, driving institutions forward or binding them to the past. Leadership can be a lightning rod for change or preserve an organization in amber. Good, bad or indifferent, it drives everything, yet in theory and practice it receives little direct attention. Underpinning this course is the philosophy that we each make leadership choices affecting boards, staffs and colleagues, as well as our own careers. This course focuses on personal leadership development, beginning with an assessment of students' leadership strengths and weaknesses while building awareness of challenges, best practices, and practical workplace applications. Through reading, discussion, and projects students will deepen their understanding of their personal leadership capacities, grasp the importance of self-awareness to leadership growth, and utilize their skills across the rapidly evolving world of the 21st-century museum. Prerequisite: Students must have completed ONE of the following courses to register for this course: Business of Museums (460.608); History and Philosophy (460.611); OR Museums and Community Engagement (460.615)