Do you want to work as a Curator in a museum? Did you know that studying Exhibition Development is a great way to start your career in museum curation? The Exhibition Development track is one of four professional tracks within the M.A in Museum Professions program within the College of Communication and Arts. Students on the Exhibition Development track study exhibition design, curatorial practices and even curate their own show in the Walsh Gallery, all preparing them for their dream museum careers. Current students, alumni and staff share their success studying Exhibition Development at Seton Hall.
The Exhibition Development track blends gallery experience with curatorial theory providing the skills students need to fully conceive and execute exhibitions. Students have opportunities to engage in exhibition critique and think conceptually about what exhibitions can do for museum audiences. Students gain the full experience of curating an exhibit including obtaining loans, generating budgets, creating effective juxtapositions, writing wall texts and publishing exhibition brochures and catalogs. Beyond curating their own exhibition, students on the Exhibition Development Track complete an internship that puts their classroom and gallery skills into practice, giving them real-world curating and exhibition development experience in a museum.
Alumna Alexandra Henderson, B.A.’17/M.A.’18 shared why she chose the exhibition track. "I have always had an interest in how and why curators put certain pieces together in an exhibition," she said. "The exhibition development track was the perfect fit. While I enjoyed taking classes in the other tracks, I knew from early on that exhibitions were my passion."
Exhibition Development students complete five specific courses, including Museum Registration I, Legal and Ethical Issues in Museums, Museum Education II, Exhibitions A-Z, and Producing and Exhibit. Additionally, exhibition students can take three elective courses from the three other professional tracks. Current exhibition student Samantha Becker explained how important it is to take a variety of museum courses while studying exhibition development. "I have gained a diverse skill set with which I can further expand my curating career," she said. "While I have mastered curation skills, I have also gained knowledge in many other areas, so I can adapt to the many different needs of an institution."
Alumni from the program have found success in many areas of exhibition work as the track prepares students for all components of working with museum exhibits. One alumna, and current adjunct instructor, Jeanne Brasile, M.A. ’04, shared the type of real-world experience students gain on the Exhibition Development track. "Students learn not just the theory of exhibition development and curatorial practice, but they also learn the nuts and bolts," Brasile said. "This includes, but is not limited to, project management, requesting and negotiating loans from lenders, managing staff and keeping projects on track, budgeting and developing a theme. Students build a solid foundation while studying exhibition development that prepares them for real world situations."
Exhibition Development students go on to pursue many different museum careers and have held positions as curators, exhibition designers, preparators, art handlers, museum couriers and more. Brasile, shared that "there is no one correct path to museum work, and the path is seldom a straight line, but that’s the beauty of it." For example, she worked as a curator, an acting assistant director for a start-up museum, a contract registrar and as a private museum consultant before returning to Seton Hall to work as the gallery director of the Walsh Gallery. She additionally teaches two courses, Exhibitions A-Z and Producing an Exhibit in the Museum Professions Program.
The M.A. in Museum Professions is designed for individuals interested in pursuing careers in museums or related cultural institutions. Students in the program select one of four professional tracks, including Museum Education, Museum Registration, Museum Management or Exhibition Development.
The College currently offers three master's-level programs, including Museum Professions, Communication and Public Relations. In addition, four dual-degree options, including three accelerated B.A./M.A. programs and a dual M.A. degree with the School of Diplomacy and International Relations are offered.
This story is part of a series highlighting the professional tracks within the M.A. in Museum Professions program.