Museum Leadership

Major: Museum Leadership
Degree Awarded: Master of Science (MS)
Calendar Type: Quarter
Total Credit Hours: 45.0
Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) code: 30.1401
Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code: 25-4011; 25-4012; 25-4013

About the Program

At the beginning of the 20th century museums were primarily keepers of things—their collections—and were thought of primarily as repositories of knowledge. Over the course of the century the American museum has changed. While collections remain at the core of their missions, museums have focused more and more on their educational roles, their communities and their audiences. The internet and digital technology are challenging museums to rethink how they operate and re-evaluate how they use their collections and the nature of their audiences.

Drexel University’s MS in Museum Leadership program prepares students for a range of management and leadership roles that are essential to the integrity and health of today’s museums. Students study the philosophy and history of leadership in cultural institutions, incorporating theory and practice from the museum field as well as business, government, and other non‐profit organizations. The program examines the process of creating new museums as well as expanding existing museums. Students learn the variety of roles required to run the contemporary museum, including curators, conservators, registrars, educators, programmers, audience development, fundraising, board members and volunteers. 

Taking advantage of various departments and programs across Drexel University, such as The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, as well as other regional museums, the program includes hands-on participation in learning laboratories during practicum experiences and other opportunities. Importantly, the program encompasses the full range of museums—art, history, science, archaeology, zoos, aquariums, arboretums, historic houses, children’s, and folklore— as well as covering both USA and international museum practices.

Goals and Objectives

Drexel’s Museum Leadership program will prepare leaders who enable museums to fulfill their missions of stewardship and education. These leaders will develop a knowledge and skill base to steer tomorrow’s museums.
Graduates of the program will be prepared:

  • To lead museums that preserve, present and critically interpret the knowledge and heritage of diverse human societies and identities;
  • To lead museums that will achieve financial security and stability;
  • To address the changing nature of museums, including expanding new technologies, educational and community outreach goals, changing demographics, and a changing political and funding environment;
  • To build museums that address changing public expectations of the museum experience, including responsiveness to their diverse communities as well as a more participatory visitor experience;
  • To contribute to a museum workforce that is culturally rich, representing the full diversity of each museum’s surrounding community;
  • To engage with the full spectrum of their local communities as well as a national and international community of museums and museum-goers.

Additional Information

For additional information about this program, contact:

Dr. Danielle Rice
Director, Museum Leadership Program
URBN Center, 210G

Degree Requirements

Required Courses
AADM 610Financial Accounting for Non-Profit Arts Organizations3.0
AADM 650Revenue Development in the Arts3.0
MUSL 500Museum History and Philosophy3.0
MUSL 510Museum Leadership3.0
MUSL 530Inside the Museum3.0
MUSL 630Exhibitions and Programming3.0
MUSL 660Museum in the Age of Technology3.0
MUSL 670Museum Communications and Marketing3.0
MUSL 710Bricks and Mortar3.0
MUSL 750Museum Leadership Practicum I3.0
MUSL 755Museum Leadership Practicum II3.0
Select four of the following:12.0
Legal and Ethical Issues in the Arts
International Cultural Policy
Marketing and Engagement in the Arts
Leadership, Strategy and Planning in the Arts
Human Resources Management in the Arts
Visual Arts Organization Management
Museum Management
Cultural Organizations in Transition
Applied Research Methods
Introduction to Web Design for Information Organizations
Information Services In Organizations
The Museum in the Community
Overview of Curatorial Practices
Technology in Museum Education
Audience Measurement
Total Credits45.0

Admission Requirements

In addition to meeting the general requirements for admission to graduate studies at Westphal College of Media Arts and Design, applicants should present a resume demonstrating a strong affinity for the field through work, volunteer experiences, education or special training.

Preparation must include at least one undergraduate level course in financial accounting, two courses in any field related to museum practice, and/or two years’ professional or board level experience with a museum. Students entering the program without the required undergraduate accounting course must complete the pre-requisite within the first two terms of matriculation.

Applicants must have a minimum 3.0 GPA in their undergraduate work, and for international students whose first language is not English, the minimum TOEFL score is 90/577.

For additional information on requirements and how to apply, visit Graduate Admissions at Drexel University.

Sample Plan of Study

Term 1Credits
MUSL 500Museum History and Philosophy3.0
MUSL 510Museum Leadership3.0
MUSL 530Inside the Museum3.0
 Term Credits9.0
Term 2
AADM 610Financial Accounting for Non-Profit Arts Organizations3.0
MUSL 630Exhibitions and Programming3.0
MUSL 670Museum Communications and Marketing3.0
 Term Credits9.0
Term 3
AADM 650Revenue Development in the Arts3.0
MUSL 660Museum in the Age of Technology3.0
MUSL 710Bricks and Mortar3.0
 Term Credits9.0
Term 4
MUSL 750Museum Leadership Practicum I3.0
 Term Credits9.0
Term 5
MUSL 755Museum Leadership Practicum II3.0
 Term Credits9.0
Total Credit: 45.0

Museum Leadership Faculty

Jacqueline Genovesi, PhD VP, Education, The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University.
Derek Gillman, LLM (University of East Anglia) Distinguished Visiting Professor, Visual Studies.
Bruce Katsiff, MFA (Oxford University). Adjunct Professor.
Laura Lenhart, BS (Mankato State University). Adjunct Professor. Financial Accounting.
Elizabeth Milroy Professor. History of cultural spaces, specifically public parks and historic sites in the city of Philadelphia.
Danielle Rice, PhD (Yale University) Program Director, Museum Leadership. Teaching Professor. Arts education
Clare Sauro, MA (Fashion Institute of Technology) Curator, Historic Costume Collection. Associate Teaching Professor. Costume history.
Dennis Wint, PhD (Case Western Reserve University). Teaching Professor.
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