How do museums make a profit? What does it take to be a successful museum leader? An M.A. in Museum Professions with a focus on Museum Management can help you answer those questions and succeed in your museum career.
The Museum Management track is one of four professional tracks within the M.A in Museum Professions program at Seton Hall's College of Communication and the Arts. The Management track prepares students for careers in museum administration and development, focusing on the legal and financial responsibilities of museum leadership.
To accomplish this, the track includes a mixture of museum professions and public administration courses to provide students with expert training in museum fundraising, administration and leadership. Students studying museum management gain practical skills in grant writing, managing volunteers, writing case studies, marketing and strategic planning. Additionally, management students can align their courses with their specific museum interests, such as nonprofit organizations, museum technologies, community engagement or museum pedological practices. Finally, students on the management track complete an internship that translates their classroom skills into practice, giving them real-world leadership and development experience in a museum or nonprofit.
Bonnie Nadzeika, M.A. '98, an adjunct professor on the management track, said the track prepares students for the rewards and challenges of working in the museum management field.
"There are so many challenges to being a museum leader," she shared. "You need to juggle staff, board, volunteers, members, donors, funders and more. The best museum leaders are those who have a fundamental basis in museum ideology. They understand best practices in museum work and have the training to be leaders in the field. This program offers both aspects of that education."
The College offers two courses specific to the museum field, including Legal and Ethical Issues in Museums and Fundraising Fundamentals in Museums. It also has five courses that can be applied broadly to the nonprofit sector: Foundations of the Nonprofit Sector, Financial Management of Nonprofit Organization, Managing Volunteers in Nonprofit Organizations, Grantsmanship and Special Topics in Nonprofits. Current management student Ibrahim Shafau said he benefited from taking these interdisciplinary management courses.
"Taking courses in both the museum field and the nonprofit sector has enhanced my graduate education," Shafau said. "The Grantsmanship course opened my eyes to the importance of development and fundraising in the museum field, for funding affects all aspects of museum work. Understanding how museum education and collections management works is only enhanced when one is exposed to and becomes proficient in the inner workings of how museums are able to maintain the funding and leadership needed to carry out their missions."
Alumni from the program recognize the importance of understanding management in the museum setting, as well. One alumna, Hayley Trinkoff '14/M.A. '15, shared that the Management track helps her make a lasting difference through fundraising.
"At my first internship, I was able to experience first-hand how I could have a profound impact on not only the organization, but also the community through sponsorship solicitations and year-end mailings," Trinkoff shared. "I love being able to tell a story and inspire passion, and I was able to acquire the necessary skills to do so from the management track."
Museum management students go on to pursue many different museum careers, including museum and program directors, fundraisers, grant writers, development officers and more. Trinkoff, for example, has worked for nonprofit arts organizations fundraising, managing volunteers and assisting with marketing and special events. She currently works at the University as the associate director of annual giving, constituent and affinity groups. In this role, she helps sustain new donors for the University to increase alumni participation. She also manages a calendar of appeals that includes direct mailings, crowdfunding, emailing and personal solicitations.
"I see my development work as important," Trinkoff stated. "I am able to make real impact with the skills I obtained from the M.A. in Museum Management."
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.