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Course Details

Course Number: 93-807

Museum Operations

Units: 6

Museum Operations (93-807) addresses how Museums operate by considering the
mission of museums as institutions that collect, preserve, and present as well as interpret for and serve the needs of visitors and communities.

Topics addressed reflect the range of responsibilities faced by managers of Museum
Operations, with the Art Museum serving as the primary case study; other public
institutions such as Natural History museums, libraries, Science Centers, Craft Centers,
Children’s Museums, Contemporary Art Centers, or Archives serve as the most
informative or instructive examples for an aspect of operational management.

The course considers museum structure and leadership, governance, and ethics. It
takes on decision-making, allocation of resources, and the importance of the mission as
a touchstone for both planning and programming. How is the work of a museum
guided by its planning? How does the program relate to the mission? The course will
examine best practices, standards, and guidelines as outlined by the American
Association of Museums.

Contextually, the conversation about Museum Operations has greater relevance
coming out of an understanding of Museum Studies, which will guide the lecture
development and readings. Additionally, readings on events or happenings with
current relevance or controversial topics will be included in the syllabus, to prompt
discussion and consideration of the challenges faced by museum professionals.

The course ultimately surveys the many roles and responsibilities inherent to running a


Janet L. McCall