The Newark Museum is widely recognized as the birthplace of modern museum education theory and — for museum educators — it is a dream to work there. Katie Himics, a museum education student in the College of Communication and the Arts' M.A. in Musuem Professions program, achieved that dream six months ago when she obtained a job at the institution as a museum educator.
Himics was inspired to apply to the Newark Museum after reading the works of its founder, John Cotton Dana, in her museum education classes. Specifically, she was inspired by Dana's belief that museums should be educational institutions where students could learn through experimental and explorative learning activities.
"So many of the readings in my museum education classes were either written by or mentioned John Cotton Dana," Himics said. "I really connected with Dana's writings and opinions on museum education, so at one point I just said to myself, 'Well, I should just go work there.'"
For Himics, the Newark Museum was the perfect fit for her educational and professional goals. She studied visual arts and art history as an undergraduate with the idea of becoming a classroom art teacher. When she discovered that classroom teaching was not for her, she decided to pursue a career in museum education instead.
"I was drawn to the choice of professional tracks in the M.A. in Museum Professions program at the University," she explained, adding she is very content with her decision to enroll. "Seton Hall has provided me with a well-rounded museum experience while also allowing me to delve deeper into what it means to be a museum educator."
At the Newark Museum, Himics primariy works with school groups, leading tours and programs throughout the galleries for grades pre-K to 12. Particularly, she delivers engaging, educational museum experiences with the goal of inspiring children to learn, explore and visit the museum again. Much of Himics' work incorporates hands-on, interactive activities that teach students not only what the Newark Museum has to offer, but what all museums have to offer.
"The most amazing thing I have learned while working at the Newark Museum is that it is possible to love your job and follow your passions," Himics shared. "This is the first time in my life that I am excited to go to work each day. There's so much beautiful art and history at the Newark Museum, and there's nothing like being able to share that with the children who visit."
Himics shared that her work at the Newark Museum is helping her grow as a student as well.
"Everyday at Newark, I am putting into practice concepts that I'm learning about in class," she said. "I feel like I can now fully contribute, participate and engage with my learning at the University. There's something about the tangible examples, the outside of the classroom learning environments, that really make the difference."
Himics has big plans for her museum education career. She wants to expand beyond teaching into program development, as she has a passion for developing programming and tours for children and family groups as well as developing community partnerships and outreach opportunities. Ultimately, she wants to be involved in all aspects of museum education.
"I am proud to say I am a museum educator," she said. "I am proud to be working at the Newark Museum. And I feel incredibly lucky to have found such a wonderful museum and workplace environment as my first introduction to the museum field."
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.