Dinosaurs, Degas, and didgeridoos, oh my! If you’re an ardent lover of all things natural, man-made, or somewhere in between, and want to preserve and protect those objects for future generations to embrace and enjoy, then a museum might be the place for you to pursue a career.
What Is Museum Studies?
The museum studies program at Buffalo State prepares students by teaching the specific attitudes, knowledge, and skills required to work with collections and people in a specialized setting, which includes art, science, and history museums and historic houses, aquariums, and zoos. Our dynamic and diverse multidisciplinary program prepares students to become museum leaders for a rapidly changing world. As socially engaged creative thinkers, our students master the practical skills and ethical values necessary to make positive decisions and choices to uplift their communities through museum work.
"My internship at the Brooklyn Museum gave me hands-on experience utilizing what I learned during my courses, and it also helped me obtain my current position at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum in New York City."
"I was drawn to the Buffalo State museum studies graduate program because of its intensive connections to the local museums and cultural institutions; something I felt was important in a graduate program."
Since 2012, Buffalo State's museum studies program has provided training to students seeking to build their expertise in the museum profession. Our distinguished faculty include individuals with strong academic and professional skills, accomplished teachers and researchers who have also worked as museum directors, curators, exhibit designers, and fundraisers.
The program accepts students from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines, including history, art history, education, design, anthropology, paleontology, hospitality and tourism, religious studies, and many others.
Students are encouraged to design their program based on their individual interests and career objectives.
Our program is designed to balance theory and practice and classroom learning with practical experience. Students are guided through research and writing which culminates in a thesis or project that is posted to Buffalo State Digital Commons.
The program provides mentoring opportunities with museum professionals in a museum setting. Build a network of museum peers. Fill in job experience on a resume. Internships often lead to full-time positions upon graduation.
Small Class Size, Track Options, and Community Partnerships
Graduate seminars and workshops usually include 8-12 students. Teamwork and collaboration are integrated into all coursework. Students can select coursework across the three tracks. The program includes interdisciplinary offerings with other departments. Service-learning and community partnerships are built into classes, providing networking opportunities and the ability to work with a wide range of collections, installations, and community organizations.
Our students work in a dynamic atmosphere on a campus surrounded by museums: The Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Burchfield Penney Art Center, and the Buffalo History Museum are all within a quarter-mile from campus. The Buffalo Science Museum and many other cultural institutions are a short drive away.
Student research includes publishing, creating online resources and poster presentations for conferences, and preparing theses, thesis projects, and related exhibits.
Our faculty works with graduate students to prepare research for publication and online presentations. Recent student publications and online resources:
Mark Dabney. 2019. “We Had All We Needed: The African American Presence in Buffalo, NY.” Paper presented at the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, 104th annual meeting and conference: Black Migrations. Charleston, South Carolina, October 2-6, 2019.
Anna Wachtel. 2019. “There is No Glamour Here: The Overseas Life and Letters of Alice Lord O’Brian.” Western New York Heritage, Spring.
Christine A. Parker. 2018. “Frederick Douglass: Ten Days of a Fugitive Slave in Buffalo.”
Western New York Heritage, Volume 20, no. 4.
Amy Grimes. 2017. The Story of Oswego Refugees: A Virtual Exhibit.
Kelsey Reed. 2017. Witnesses: Holocaust-Era Stories. Online Exhibit for the Holocaust Resource Center, Buffalo NY.
Christine A. Parker and Nancy Weekly. 2015. “John E. Brent: Buffalo’s First African American Architect.” Western New York Heritage, Volume 18, no. 3.
Our students have attended and presented research at statewide and national conferences and have had the opportunity to network and engage with other emerging museum professionals. Examples: American Alliance of Museums (AAM); Master’s Level Graduate Research Program (MaRC); The Museum Association of New York (MANY); Phi Alpha Theta; Gravestone Studies Conference; The Costume Society of America.
With more than 35,000 museums caring for over 1 billion objects in the United States, there is a growing need for museum professionals in all areas of museum work. Museums play crucial educational and social roles in communities across the country.
In New York State alone, it is projected that there will be a need for more than 2,400 new museum workers within the next 10 years. Nationally, the museum industry is experiencing robust job growth, faster than the average for all occupations.
While new museums open every year, many older museums are expanding and creating possibilities for new hires.
Digital Collections specialist
Historic House and Site Interpreter
Community Programming Liaison
Special Education Programs Specialist
Visitor and Guest Services Manager
Museum and Historic House Tour Guide
National Parks Service Guide
Gift shop and Sales Manager
Archivists, curators, and museum workers expected increase of 13%
Librarians and archivists, expected increase of 10% expected
(Currently, over 720,000 people are employed by museums in the U.S.)
Buffalo History Museum
Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village
Buffalo Science Museum
Buffalo State College
Castellani Art Museum, Niagara County
Dolce Valvo Art Center, Niagara County
Explore and More Children’s Museum Buffalo, NY
Fraunces Tavern Museum, NYC
Graycliff Conservancy, Derby NY
Herschell Carousel Factory Museum, Tonawanda NY
Museum of Osteopathic Medicine, Kirksville, MS
National September 11 Memorial Museum, NYC
Holocaust Resource Center, Buffalo NY
Pierce Arrow Museum
Rochester Museum and Science Center
Roycroft Campus, East Aurora, NY
Seneca Falls Historical Society
Steel Plant Museum of Western New York
Strong Museum of Play, Rochester NY
Telfair Museums, Savannah, Georgia
The Octagon Museum, Washington, DC
Underground Railroad Heritage Center Niagara Falls, NY
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