Museum Studies

WIU Museum Studies

The purpose of the Museum Studies Program is to educate students as to the history of museums, the various aspects of museum work to include administration, collections management, exhibition development, education, community development, tourism, and fund raising.

Also, the program strives to acquaint students with the opportunities and problems faced by museums and museum personnel, and to create career opportunities for students who might seek employment in a museum.

Emphasis is placed on practicum experiences involving such basic museum functions as exhibition, curatorial research, cataloging, acquisition, community service, education, and administration.

This program offers coursework through the departments of Art, and Recreation, Park and Tourism Administration working in conjunction with museum professionals at the Figge Art Museum in Davenport, Iowa.

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With a degree in Museum Studies, you can work in a wide variety of settings including:

  • Art museums
  • History museums
  • Children's museums
  • Zoos and aquaria
  • National and state park museums and visitors centers
  • Science and technology museums
  • Outdoor education centers

As a practicing museum professional your work can include:

  • Managing and caring for museum collections
  • Hosting exhibitions and special events
  • Engaging in educational outreach
  • Designing exhibits
  • Providing interpretive programming for visitors
  • Performing research and publication activities
  • Administrating museum resources and personnel

The Western Illinois University Master's/Certificate program in Museum Studies focusses on professional preparation and requires an internship rather than a thesis as the exit option for graduation. Admission to the program does not require the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and instead is based on grade point average, current resume, letters of recommendation, and an essay statement of academic and professional interest.

Preference will be given to applicants who come from the following background areas:

  • Art
  • Recreation, Park & Tourism Administration
  • Anthropology
  • Education
  • History

Western Illinois University offers instate tuition for Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, and Wisconsin residents. The Museum Studies Master's program requires 34 semester hours, and the Post-Baccalaureate Certificate program requires 18 semester hours. A majority of Master's seeking students complete the Master's degree in 18 months.

  • Executive Director - Campbell Center for Historic Preservation Studies
  • Administrator - Bishop Hill Heritage Association
  • Curator - Amana Colonies
  • Adult Programming Coordinator - Nelson - Atkins Museum of Art
  • Assistant Director and Curator - German American Heritage Center
  • Manager - Member and Donor Relations Development - Shedd Aquarium
  • Membership Coordinator - Science Museum of Minnesota
  • Visitor Services Manager - Milwaukee Art Museum
  • Museum Outreach Educator - Figge Art Museum
  • Assistant Curator - Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum
  • Associate and Museum Internship Coordinator - Albright - Knox Art Gallery
  • Collections Assistant - National Mississippi River Museum
  • Executive Director - Pella Historial Society and Tulip Time Festival
  • Preparator - Northern Arizona University Art Museum
  • Educator - Play Museum of Illinois State Museum
  • Account Manager/Special Events - Field Museum
  • Museum Educator - Putnam Museum and Science Center
  • Research Assistant - Grout Museum District


The Museum Studies Program offers a several of assistantships that provide a full tuition waiver and a monthly stipend (currently $629/month for the 2014-15 academic year). Students receiving an assistantship are required to work 13 hours a week doing a variety of administrative and/or research tasks.

Assistantships may be located both at the WIU-QC campus and Quad Cities area museums and other related agencies. Inquires about assistantships should be made to

Pamela J White, JD, PhD
Director, Museum Studies
Western Illinois University
Quad Cities Complex 1225, Moline, IL 61265
Phone: (309) 762-3999 ext. 62340