Course Descriptions

  • Required Courses

    460.702 - Studies in World Heritage

    This course offers an in-depth exploration of the World Heritage movement by focusing on the concept of heritage, both tangible and intangible, its historical development, its international conventions, and the role of technology in its past, present, and future. Students will be asked to engage critically with contemporary heritage concepts such as authenticity, ownership, assessment, value, and preservation that form much of our global understanding of the field of cultural heritage studies. Through case studies, lectures, discussions, and readings, students will explore international heritage policy as structured by the institutional complex (UNESCO, ICOMOS, International Center for the Study of Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM), International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), the World Bank, and the World Monuments Fund) and consider both its local and global impact.

    460.704 - Cultural Heritage Management/Leadership

    Cultural heritage management is a complex intersection of theory and practice. This course will explore issues related to cultural sector management and leadership. Through the lens of current practice, we will examine core theoretical concepts and tools, including traditional approaches as well as the incorporation of emergent technology. We will look closely at the roles of the cultural manager and the proficiencies and characteristics needed for effective management and leadership within the cultural sector. We will consider changing definitions of protection and stewardship as they relate to cultural heritage as well as a larger framing of public interest, what publics, which interests.

    460.708 - (Onsite Seminar) Reading the City: A Case Study in Urban Heritage

    A two-week, intensive, period of on-ground study organized by the Cultural Heritage Management program to be held in one of 230 inhabited cities designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The seminar includes practicum opportunities related to site management, heritage tourism, and conservation, alongside classroom sessions that integrate the daily experiences. Using the rich diversity of the city the seminar provides students with the chance to use what they have learned in their prior courses, develop networks with fellow students and heritage experts, and explore the latest in cultural heritage practice. Students work on directed activities during the two-week period, coupled with multiple site visits focused on the academic work being accomplished. Students are strongly encouraged to take 460.707 prior to registering for this course. Individual course description will be posted for each location. Waiver option: Students who are unable to travel to a seminar location due to accommodation needs, financial hardship, or family challenges may apply to the program director for an exemption to the two-week seminar. If a waiver is granted, the student must enroll in the internship option (460.780) to fulfill the on-site component of the degree requirement.

  • Core Courses

    460.707 - Reading the Landscape: Cultural Heritage at Scale

    This course examines the unique challenges faced by academics and practitioners in defining, preserving and managing rural, natural, and urban heritage at a landscape scale. The multiplicity of interests involved add to the complexity and require robust engagement strategies. Students will use a regional, national and international perspective to derive best practices for understanding the breadth of the cultural landscape concept and the opportunities for its sustainable development. Students are strongly encouraged to take this course before enrolling in the onsite seminar Reading the City (460.704).

    460.710 - The Protection of Global Cultural Heritage: Laws, Policies, Politics, and Advocacy

    This course will consider the laws, policies, and politics that provide for the public commemoration of tangible and intangible heritage. It will explore ideas related to cultural property across a global and digital landscape including indigenous claims, institutional ownership, and legal rights. Beyond gaining an understanding of applicable laws and policies from a global perspective, students will also examine the politics of heritage and its social and economic impact, including the ways in which it is used in projects of nation building, cultural appropriation, economic development and sustainability, identity, and cultural hegemony. To this end we will take an in depth look at the current threats to world heritage and the laws and policies governing the response of the global community. We will consider what can and cannot, and for that matter what should and should not be done to protect both tangible and intangible world heritage at both the local and international levels and what this means for local and global communities.

    460.730 - Heritage and Representation: Approaches to Interpretation and Outreach

    Outreach and interpretation are key components of cultural heritage management and the visible link between heritage and its diverse publics. This course considers current practice and emerging developments in the field with an eye toward digital strategies and multimedia: (i.e. virtual reality, augmented reality, social media campaigns, and TV and web productions) as well as a broad range of heritage both tangible and intangible: from museums and sites, to archeological excavations, to urban and rural landscapes, and both the natural and built environment. It asks students to evaluate the impacts of engagement strategies and interpretation on diverse publics; from global travelers participating in heritage tourism to the grassroots efforts of indigenous communities. It looks critically at interpretation across global landscapes considering both the intended and unintended consequences of chosen narratives. This course looks closely at audience and community, the control of narrative and interpretation, and the short and long-term impact in terms of identity and access.

    460.732 - Engaging Communities in Heritage: Ownership, Stewardship, Sustainability, and Creative Cultural Expression

    Museums and other heritage institutions are increasingly recognizing the value of "bottom-up" heritage programming. This class will explore issues related to community engagement in the heritage sector as well as strategize ways to engage various constituencies in the formulation, collection, and presentation of their heritage. We will use global case studies (as related to memory and memorial, sites of conscience, marginalized histories, indigenous heritage, and eco-museums) to explore the challenges faced by such projects. Examining both the failures and successes will result in a broader understanding of best practices in the field and help us formulate effective strategies for future engagement.

    460.740 - Cultural Heritage in the Digital Age

    A Greek colony from the 6th century BC is brought to life with augmented reality; a Buddhist cave with centuries-old artworks—at risk because of environmental threat—is preserved with a 3D digital reconstruction; cultural heritage information, images, and damage assessments are catalogued in open source databases. These are just a few examples of how a growing number of scholars, researchers, and practitioners are looking to technology as a means to understand, interpret, document, and preserve cultural heritage worldwide. This course will explore the ways in which cultural heritage professionals are implementing contemporary digital technologies to enhance research, conservation, management and preservation of tangible and intangible heritage, as well as methods of education and engagement of visitors to cultural heritage sites. Through lectures, readings, assignments, and social media, students will identify and analyze the incorporation of technology currently being used in cultural heritage studies and practice, as well as envision its use for the future.

  • Elective Courses

    460.609 - Museums in a Global Perspective

    In this intensive course, students participate in collaborative role play to debate urgent issues confronting museums in the 21st century. Through readings, research, and extensive teamwork, students explore, analyze, develop, and discuss a range of policies and procedures that link museums to international communities and trends. Students examine and experience (through simulation) the significant effects and challenges of a globalizing world on museum mission, preservation of cultural heritage, and exhibition practice. Students gain experience in debating global issues that will have an impact on the future of museums as well as developing and writing effective program proposals. The collaborative aspect of this course requires the flexibility to schedule working sessions every other week with an assigned team. Note: Students must have completed two courses in the program to register for this course.

    460.621 - Evaluation Theory & Techniques for Museums

    This course covers evaluation theory, methodologies, and practical implementation of evaluation in museums and similar environments. The class explores the stages of evaluation, what can be achieved at each stage, and how to work with clients. Students practice developing clear evaluation questions, developing a robust evaluation plan, choosing appropriate methods, assessing the benefits and trade-offs of different evaluation strategies and designing and refining evaluation tools. Emphasis is given to the opportunities and challenges of evaluating all types of museum experiences (programs, exhibitions, architecture, wayfinding systems, various interpretive technology, etc.) from multiple points of view, including museum visitors and museum staff. Hands-on evaluation practice will be gained through testing and refining observation and interview tools in a museum setting.

    460.628 - Architecture of Museums

    This course serves as an introduction to museum architecture, including the history of museum buildings, as well as current case studies of renovations, expansions and new facilities. We will discuss the relevant topics in creating a physical museum space, such as developing a museum program, planning the visitor experience, developing wayfinding systems, building a green museum, and incorporating technology in the initial plan. We will analyze museum buildings from multiple perspectives, including visitors, staff and collections. Students will learn how to evaluate an existing museum building and will be guided through a mini-POE (post-occupancy evaluation) of a museum in their community.

    460.633 - Core Aspects of Conservation: A 21st Century Approach

    The conservation, preservation, and restoration of cultural heritage is an increasingly complex practice within the museum context, and one that benefits greatly from widely-shared knowledge and collaborative networks. Today a variety of highly-specialized conservators perform treatments on individual items of high value, while at the same time there are a growing amount of conservation-related issues that collections managers, registrars, and others are responsible for in the process of caring for collections. This class will give students the opportunity to work in and around conservation issues and tasks, while assimilating and contributing to the existing body of knowledge in collections care (preventive conservation). A variety of media used to create and conserve artworks will be discussed. Assignments will be coordinated with or related to current web-based conservation projects, including Wikipedia, ConservationReel, and AIC’s Lexicon Project. Prerequisite: Collection Management (460.666)

    460.638 - Preservation of Analog and Digital Photographs

    This course will explore the main principles in caring for analog and digital photographic collections. It has been designed as a broad approach to the subject, but with enough depth to give the student an approach to the care for photographic collections with both historical and natively born digital photographs. This course will provide this insight from looking at the materials that photographs are composed of, understanding the materials and environment that they are housed in, and the technologies and workflows needed to care for analog and natively born digital photographs for long-term preservation. Students will be required to build and present a case study and a final project discussing a topic related to the course.

    460.639 - Material Culture and the Modern Museum

    From the Mona Lisa to Archie Bunker’s easy chair, museums play a critical role in the collection, preservation, and interpretation of objects. This course looks closely at the development of material culture studies and its connection to museums in the 21st century. Students will explore collecting as meaningful action, the classification of objects (from academic categorizations to tags and folksonomies) and their access (from collections to archives, to physical and virtual display). Student-developed object biographies will be used throughout the semester to explore the life history of objects, their changing meanings, and their relationship to self, society, and the museum. Note: Students are strongly encouraged to have completed two courses in the program before registering for this course.

    460.645 - Museums and Mobile: Adapting to Change

    We live in a mobile-first world. The mobile revolution has profoundly altered our behaviors, transforming our very expectations of how we interact with the world around us: we now expect to get what we want on any device, at anytime, anywhere, at the touch of a finger. And we expect the same when interacting with cultural institutions. The future of museum technology lies heavily in the use of mobile platforms, but how should museums adapt to the future? Through presentations, interviews, guest speakers, hands-on experience, group discussions and collaborative assignments, this course will explore the many questions and issues facing cultural institutions as they try to adapt to this mobile mind shift, and how museums can leverage mobile as a platform for social conversation, deeper brand engagement, and of course opportunities for education. Students will learn how to leverage mobile to engage visitors, balance the need for curatorial direction with user participation, and how to redefine the museum experience for mobile visitors, both onsite and offsite. Prerequisite: Museums in the Digital Age (460.602)

    460.665 - Introduction to Archives

    This course provides an introduction to the theory and practice of archives, including an overview relating to the elements of an archival program and the role and work of archivists. Special attention will be paid to the work of archivists in a museum context. The theoretical component of the course will be supplemented with a variety of hands-on exercises, case studies, and informed anecdotes designed to illustrate the relationship between theory and practice. Although American archival tradition will be the focus, international perspectives on archival theory and practice will play an important role in the course of study. Topics include: acquisition; appraisal; arrangement and description; preservation; reference; outreach; archival access systems; legal and ethical issues; and born-digital curation, including digital preservation.

    460.670 - Digital Preservation

    This course introduces students to the current state of digital preservation, preservation challenges, and basic concepts for designing effective digital preservation plans and programs. Topics include the relevance of digital preservation for museums; archival principles that inform preservation practices; standards and policies; considerations in preservation strategies; issues relating to formats, repositories, and processes; and emerging preservation solutions and services. Note: Students who are not enrolled in the Digital Curation Certificate program are encouraged to take 460.666 Collection Management before enrolling in this course.

    460.671 - Foundations of Digital Curation

    This course lays a foundation for managing digital information throughout its life cycle by introducing students to the emerging field of digital curation and by examining the practical issues and tools involved in managing digital collections and repositories over time. Topics include metadata schemas for describing digital assets in different disciplines; sharing digital content beyond the institution to reach wider audiences; requirements for trustworthy repository services; management of research data; policy issues; and user services. Note: Students who are not enrolled in the Digital Curation Certificate program are encouraged to take 460.666 Collection Management before enrolling in this course.

    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)

    460.706 - Research Methods in Cultural Heritage

    The supervised research course enables students to investigate a significant problem or issue in cultural heritage and to develop and demonstrate leadership, critical thinking, and communication skills. The research project is expected to result in a deliverable, written or digital, that makes a contribution to the field of cultural heritage broadly defined. Coursework, assignments, and meetings with a faculty member will take place in an online course environment. This course is normally completed toward the end of the degree program.

    460.712 - Cultural Resource Management and Methods

    Cultural Resource Management (CRM) in the United States is critical to the identification, preservation, and mitigation of our national heritage. This course will cover cultural resource law, its political histories, statutes, jurisprudence, and practice in the United States, scaffolding our understanding of federal, state, and local regulations. Beyond the auspices of governing legislation, we will explore current issues facing CRM including the needs and priorities of varied stakeholders: native sovereign nations, federal cultural resource managers, state and local citizens, business and development, and the academy.

    460.714 - Culture as Catalyst for Sustainable Economic Development

    The role of cultural heritage in global developmental policy emphasizes a human centered and inclusive approach. The course will introduce students to the current global discourse on sustainable economic development and unpack the role of cultural heritage including the socio-economic impacts of investment. Students will consider the role of cultural heritage in long term development strategies and policy in order to assess impacts and effects. Cultural heritage will be considered as both a means and an end.

    460.716 - Cultural Heritage Risk Management and Security

    The 21st century has seen an unprecedented threat to our global heritage—from natural disasters, extreme weather events, and climate change, to military conflicts in some of our most sensitive areas of global heritage alongside the intentional targeting of cultural sites for destruction. In this course students will gain an understanding of the risks facing our global heritage. They will be introduced to a variety of security strategies and technologies implemented to protect and preserve sites from 21st century threats. And they will analyze the pros and cons of various approaches to create their own security and disaster mitigation proposals.

    460.734 - Heritage Tourism

    This course explores the practice and theory of heritage tourism and the history of its developments and impacts. Through the lens of sustainable economic development, it will examine the benefits and challenges of tourism and site management in both rural and urban contexts.

    460.780 - Internship

    An internship at a cultural heritage organization, approved by the internship coordinator, may be substituted for one elective course. To fulfill the internship requirement, a student must complete a minimum of 80 hours of work on-site and a project, (either a research paper or a practical product) on an approved topic related to his/her experience, due at the end of the semester. Students also participate in online discussion and course work during the semester. Before registering for the internship option, the student should contact the internship coordinator for approval. At least four to six weeks before the beginning of the semester in which the internship will take place, the student must submit: 1) a description of the internship weekly duties including activities and/or responsibilities; 2) learning objectives and goals; 3) why this experience should be part of the Cultural Heritage Management degree; and 4) a signed letter of commitment from the internship supervisor. Students must have completed a minimum of two courses in the program before registering for this internship.