About

Museums and Society is an exciting interdisciplinary program that introduces undergraduates to the institutions that preserve, interpret, and present material heritage. Students in the program:

  • Can earn a minor to complement any major
  • Discover new approaches to their major field of study
  • Pursue independent and collaborative research that is publicly engaged
  • Work with a diverse array of faculty, curators, museum educators, and other specialists
  • Take museum-based courses focused on both collections and outreach
  • Participate in local and regional excursions, getting to know the Baltimore-D.C. area and its museums
  • Explore career opportunities in heritage, culture, and the arts.

Program Statement

The Program in Museums and Society is concerned with the institutions that shape knowledge and understanding through the collection, preservation, interpretation, and presentation of specimens, objects, artifacts, materials, monuments, and historic sites. Through classroom teaching, research, and direct encounters with museums and their collections, the program promotes the study of material culture and its place in a wide range of scholarly disciplines. The role of such institutions and their contents in societies both past and present, including but not limited to their political, cultural, legal, ethical, and economic significance, is the program’s central concern. Close attention to museum objects and their material, social, and political status is also key. In addition to curricular and scholarly activities within the university, the program promotes meaningful connections with local and regional museums.

History of the Program

The Program in Museums and Society was established in 2006 with the primary mission of developing and administering an interdisciplinary minor. In addition, it was intended to provide a locus for faculty and student consideration of museums and their impact on societies, both past and present, and a forum for undergraduate interactions with local museums and collections.

The name of the program, Museums and Society, was a deliberate choice, intended to emphasize an approach that is expansive and conceptual, looking out beyond the museum itself to take in the institution’s larger impact and significance, and pushing beyond the walls of the university to engage with the public as part of the university’s academic work. The program is distinct in these ways from other, usually graduate programs in museum studies, including Hopkins’ own, which is administered through Advanced Academic Programs and intended to train museum professionals.