Museology 470 - Course Description

Anthropology 470, Museology Studies, combines an internship program in a local museum with academic requirements set by the sponsoring professor. Anth 470 is designed to expose students to the workings and issues of museums through "hands-on" experience, readings, and written work.

Students will participate in day to day interactions in the working environment of a museum. In addition to acquiring or building on specific skills (e.g. data entry, research, educational presentations, etc.), students will complete tasks in a timely, satisfactory manner and successfully work with supervisors and co-workers. Students will consider and reflect on museum issues by completing written assignments (or, for repeating interns, by writing a paper on a museum topic). Students will also be asked to write about their internship experiences at the end of their interning quarter.

About the Course

Students must have 40 credits in anthropology or be of Graduate status to register for Anth 470. Anyone not meeting these prerequisites must obtain Dr. Joyce Hammond's approval before proceeding.


HOW DO I SIGN UP?

FIRST STEP: Pick a Museum.
The museums we currently have agreements with are listed below.

  • The Whatcom Museum of History and Art
  • Spark Museum of Electrical Invention
  • The Bellingham International Maritime Museum
  • The Lynden Pioneer Museum
  • Heritage Flight Museum (now located in Skagit County)

SECOND STEP: Contact museum personnel (see contacts).
You must call the appropirate contact at the museum to find out if there are any positions available. Once you have a verbal approval from the museum personnel, then...

THIRD STEP: Get your security check from the Museum. This process can take UP TO SIX WEEKS, and is required before you can register for the class.

FOURTH STEP: Fill out the Internship Contract; you will need to do this WITH the museum personnel as it includes scheduling the interns working hours and the duties that will be required.

FIFTH STEP: Contact Dr. Hammond, (or the liason professor) for an override code.
Once Dr. Hammond has given you an override code, you may register for the Museology class. PLEASE NOTE: If you wish to intern in the summer you must make arrangements with Dr. Sarah Campbell (or the liason professor) before contacting any museum personnel.


Notes about Anth 470:

Anth 470 may be repeated (with new reading/writing content in subsequent quarters) and taken for up to 10 credits. Repeating the course allows students the opportunity to broaden and/or deepen their museum experiences. It is possible to change departments or museums or to continue working in the same museum/department with the possibility of greater challenges.

While students may (with the approval of supervisory museum personnel) opt for as few as 3 credits a quarter, most supervisors prefer that students take 4 or 5 credits a quarter. Students should carefully consider their schedules for any quarter they intend to take Anth 470 since sustained periods at a museum are needed, as well as transportation time to get to and from a museum.

3 credits = 54 hours of museum work plus assigned reading and writing assignments
4 credits = 72 hours of museum work plus assigned reading and writing assignments
5 credits = 90 hours of museum work plus assigned reading and writing assignments

Following the university expectation that for every one credit earned, two hours related work is expected outside of classroom time, the work load for Anth 470 reverses the formula. That is, a little less than two hours per credit (e.g. 9 hours a week for 5 credits) is expected in the museum setting. The remaining study time (which averages about 3 hours a week) will be devoted to reading and writing assignments.

Students may intern at the following: (click on links for more information):

At a student's initiative and with a sponsoring professor's permission, it is also possible to intern at other museums outside of Whatcom County.


Details to know:

Each museum setting offers different experiences. Students wishing to work at the Whatcom Museum of History and Art are asked to choose a particular department, with a back-up department in mind. The Lynden Pioneer Museum has a variety of projects at any time. Opportunities also vary at the other museums, based on current exhibits, activities, and projects.

Students MUST CALL OR VISIT the appropriate contact person of a museum AT LEAST THREE WEEKS in advance of the quarter they wish to intern. Internships fill on a first come, first served basis, and many museums take interns from other university departments as well from Anthropology. In addition, museums require security clearance for interns, which could take up to a six weeks to process.

As discussed earlier, students must have verbal approval from museum personnel in order to obtain an override code and to register for 470.

Museums are under no obligation to accept a student. Additionally, a student's working relationship with a museum may be terminated if a student fails to perform competently and responsibly. A grade of Z would then be assigned. Students need to be aware that museums operate under deadlines and students' responsibilities must be completed appropriately.

Either before the internship quarter or during the first week of the interning quarter, students must meet with their supervisors and work out agreements on schedules and duties. A copy of the 470 contract must be completed with signatures of the student, the supervisor and the sponsoring professor. All parties receive a copy of the contract and any changes made to the contract during the interning quarter must be signed by all three.

Museums are working environments and interns are expected to perform duties assigned by museum personnel that are appropriate to the museum's current work. While students may, in some cases, express preferences, task assignment is ultimately each museum's prerogative.

  • A student can expect to perform at least three different kinds of tasks during a quarter (many students get to do more).
  • Each student is entitled to a tour of his/her chosen museum with accompanying remarks about the integration of different areas, units, etc. In addition, students may be able to schedule time to experience museum programs as part of their internship.

Students are not expected to do museum work during FINALS WEEK. However, if hours need to be made up for time missed during the quarter (due to illness, etc.), hours can be completed during FINALS WEEK.

90% of a student's final grade is baser which must be completed by Wednesday of Finals Week. Students may ask museum personnel d on the evaluation of the student’s supervisor for a copy of the evaluation on Thursday or Friday of FINALS WEEK, or by writing museum personnel for a copy within one month of completion of the internship.

10% of the final grade is based on written work submitted to the sponsoring professor. ALL FIRST TIME INTERNS MUST COMPLETE THE CANVAS COMPONENT OF THE COURSE. Once students are registered for Anth 470 they will be automatically linked to Anthropology 470 on Canvas.

Students are encouraged to ask supervisors for letters of recommendation for their portfolios if the skills they acquire and the responsibilities they undertake are deemed significant for their future endeavors.


Required Texts for the Course

First Time Interns:

Introduction to Museum Work by G. Ellis Burcaw, third edition.
Cannibal Tours and Glass Boxes: The Anthropology of Museums by Michael M. Ames

Second Time Interns:

Exhibiting Cultures edited by Ivan Karp and Steven D. Lavine
Museum Frictions edited by Ivan Karp, Corinne A. Kratz, Lynn Szwaja and Tomas Ybarra-Frausto

A copy of each book is on reserve at Wilson Library, and the Student Co-op Bookstore will carry copies of Introduction to Museum Work and Cannibal Tours and Glass Boxes. Students must make arrangements to order their own copies of Exhibiting Cultures and/or Museum Frictions either through the Student Co-op Bookstore or in town.

Written Work

First Time Interns:

Weekly reading assignments and essay questions for first time interns will be posted on Canvas. Beginning the first week of the quarter, answers are to be submitted by midnight on Friday of each week. During Fall Quarter, there is no assignment the week of Thanksgiving. Other announcements pertinent to interns may also appear on Canvas.

A three page paper that summarizes a student's internship experiences and offers reflections and insights is required by noon Friday of Dead Week.

Second Time Interns:

Students will also write a three page experience/reflections paper due by noon Friday of Dead Week. In addition, they will read essays of their choice in Exhibiting Cultures and/or Museum Frictions and write an eight to ten page paper on a museum topic that draws upon at least three of the essays; supplemental readings may also be used. For example, an exploration of the subject of authenticity in exhibiting might be chosen. The paper would draw from ideas of authors in Exhibiting Cultures which address the topic of authenticity. Ideas on the topic from other sources and a student's own thoughts on the topic, informed by lessons learned as an intern, could supplement ideas from the essays. If you are interested in writing a paper on a topic(s) other than those represented by the two books, please see me. The paper is due by noon on Friday of the FIFTH WEEK of classes.

Third Time Interns

Students also write a three page experience/reflections paper that is due by noon Friday of DEAD WEEK. In addition, students develop a research topic for a ten page paper, due by noon Friday of the FIFTH WEEK of classes. Approval of the topic should be obtained prior to research.

Page Updated 03.19.2014