Interdisciplinary Minor in Museum Studies/Public History

Christine Ridarsky (Rochester City Historian, MA '03) and Shellie Clark (Class of 2014)

Christine Ridarsky (Rochester City Historian, MA '03) and Shellie Clark (Class of 2014)
Shellie is an intern at the Office of the Rochester City Historian working on a Vietnam Era Veterans Oral History Project. Our new Interdisciplinary Minor or Public History MA track can help you get hands-on experience too!

This new minor in Museum Studies and Public History will provide a coordinated training for students interested in going on to further study in these fields which lead to jobs in museums, archives, historical sites and historical preservation.

Students will be introduced to the topic of museum studies and public history in their core courses taught by the departments of History, Anthropology and Art. Students will network with local institutions by doing internships (for instance at the Genesee Village and Country Museum, Rochester Historian’s Office, Rochester Historical Society, Strong Museum of Play, Emily Knapp Museum and other local historical societies and archives).

Entrance Requirements

Sophomore status

Program Requirements

  • The minor requires 18 credits.  Students must earn at least a “C” or higher for courses in all minor coursework..
  • Students design their course of study in close consultation with their minor advisor from the options identified below..



CORE COURSES: at least TWO core courses from the following options:

ANT 463 Museology
ART 470 Gallery Management
HST 412 Public History 
HST 413 Rochester Reform Trail
HST 427 Material Culture



INTERNSHIPS (typically TWO three-credit experiences from the following options):

ANT 462 Museum Internship
HST 371 Brockport Career Exploration Course: History I
HST 372 Brockport Career Exploration Course: History II                       HST 485 Museum Internship




ELECTIVES (up to six credits of electives) Typically TWO three-credit courses from the list below with the approval of the minor advisor.






ANT 463 Museology: Theory and Practice of Museums. Introduces students to the interdisciplinary field of museum studies, including the global history, theory, and variation of museums, as well as the practices of museum curation, registration, collections management, exhibitions, research, administration, and fundraising.

ART 470 Gallery Management and Exhibition Design (B,T). This course is an intense practicum to prepare students for careers as curators, gallery directors and gallery professionals. Students will actively engage with diverse mediums, arts and curators to develop public exhibitions and programs. Through hands-on experience, students will be challenged to address meanings conveyed by exhibition design and presentation.

HST 412 Public History. Examines how historians preserve historical memory to the public. After considering the challenges of popularizing specialized knowledge, students examine the work and techniques of archives, popular historical writing, historical societies museums, and oral history. The course culminates with a hands-on project in one of those areas.

HST 413 The Rochester Reform Trail: The Power of Place in History and the Construction of Historical Narratives (A). Examines the role of Rochester in the history of the American Reform Movement. Topics include women's rights, abolition, temperance, religious revivals, and political economy. The course also examines how these historical narratives are constructed and reconstructed in physical and virtual museum spaces like the Susan B. Anthony House, the National Women's Hall of Fame, various Erie Canal museums, the proposed “Rochester Heritage Trail,” and others.

HST 427 Material Culture. Investigates 18th and 19th century US material culture and lived experience. The course includes discussion and analysis of various topics: clothing production and consumption; the cultural construction of hygiene; the meaning and utility of lived spaces; interior furnishings and their relationship to users; amenities such as the lighting and heating of homes; cultural expressions such as art, music, and print culture; the shaping and reshaping of urban and rural land.



ANT 462 Museum Internship. Structured course focused around hands-on internship at the Emily Knapp Museum in Brockport.

HST 371/HST 372 Brockport Career Exploration. Allows students to participate in a hands-on internship at local institutions such as the Rochester Historical Association, Brockport College Archives, Strong Museum, Genesee Country Village and Museum, Rochester City Historians Office, Memorial Art Gallery, Morgan Manning House. Students will be advised as to which institution to contact, will be given guidance by both their advisor and their supervisor at the internship location. Students must commit to 120 hours of work.

HST485 Museum Internship. Combines a ‘hands-on’ public history internship experience with classroom seminars for discussing readings and sharing experiences.  Students will intern in local or regional archives, historical societies, historians’ offices, and museums. 

Click here for more internship opportunities in and around the Rochester/Brockport area. 


Study Abroad Internship

ANT 504 Petra Fieldschool. This four week six credit course that takes place in Petra, Jordan centers on the tools and techniques employed in discovering the history and material culture of ancient Jordan during the Roman, Byzantine and Islamic periods and introduces students to the historical geography of the region. The course consists in field work, lectures, and field trips. During the day, the methods and techniques used by archaeologists to reconstruct ancient cultures and history are examined through participation in the excavation of the Petra Pool and Garden Complex. In the evening, lectures by professional staff members and expert guest lecturers address various topics in the fields of archaeology, history, geography, and culture, as well as technical aspects of the excavation.



Electives help students gain the proper context and knowledge of content to undertake internships in museums, historical societies or archives. Students may pick a class outside the list if it is approved by their advisor.

AAS 114 African American History II 1865-Present (A): Surveys the history of African Americans from 1865 to the present, covering such themes as emancipation, reconstruction, migration, urbanization, community formation and development, the political and cultural movements of the 1960s and 1970s, affirmative action, the underclass, and the reparations debate. Makes students aware of the historical conditions and development of people of African descent in the United States along with their contributions to American society. 3 Cr. Every Semester.

AAS 303 Slavery and the Underground Railway (A). Considers an aspect of American history (approximately 1830-1861) involving the quest for freedom by African slaves who ran away from bondage through an elaborate system of escape routes stretching from the US South to the North and Canada. Labeled the “Underground Railroad,” these networks were managed by conductors who helped their passengers (the escaped slaves) move from station to station and to reach freedom in the North. Probes the background history of slavery, the legislative backcloth of the Underground Railroad, its geography of routes, and the biography of its major conductors. Also explores the local history of the Underground Railroad of Western New York, including planned visits to its stations in Buffalo, Rochester, and Ontario. 3 Cr. Spring.

ANT 202 Intro to Archeology(A,O,S). Provides an overview of the field of anthropological archaeology while emphasizing the relationship between the past and the present. Topics include the history of archaeology, methods and techniques used to recover archaeological data, and an examination of how data are used to understand and interpret human existence in the past, and exploration of particular case studies and important issues in contemporary archaeology. 3 Cr. Every Semester.

ANT 301 Native Americans Contemporary Issues (A,D,I). Explores the major issues facing Native Americans (Indians and Eskimos) in the United States today. Emphasizes understanding the varied perspectives of the major parties involved in each issue with particular attention to the Native American position. 3 Cr. Fall.

ANT 337 Iroquois Culture and History (A,D,I). The emergence, contemporary history and cultures of Haudenosaunee and Iroquoian peoples in New York State, Ontario and Quebec, from pre-contact to the contemporary periods, using a wide variety of written, visual, historical, archaeological, ethnographic and other sources. 3 Cr.

ANT 342 North American Archaeology (A). Provides an overview of the history of humans in North America focusing on the United States, from the earliest settlement to the recent historical period. Explores recent research on issues such as peopling of the New World, variation in gatherer - hunter adaptation, the development of agriculture, the nature of Chiefdoms, the rise of the state, and modern political aspects of the archaeology of indigenous peoples. 3 Cr.

ANT 384 Methods in Archaeology (A). Principles, concepts, techniques and interpretive approaches used by archaeologists to study past human cultures. Topics include material culture analysis, archaeological dating, analysis of archaeological artifacts and explanation in archaeology. Examples will be drawn from archaeological research from around the world. 3 Cr. Fall.

ANT 401 Native American Art and Culture (A).Provides a survey of Native-American visual arts (north of Mexico) viewed within the context of Native-American cultures and through the framework of anthropology. Considers Native- American arts by culture area: their roots, traditional expressions, changes with European contact, and contemporary expressions. Relies heavily upon the use of audiovisual material. 3 Cr. Spring.

ANT 440 Historical Archaeology (A). A survey of the field of American historical archaeology. Examines the rationale, methods and theories for the archaeological investigation of the recent past. Explores the insights gained on particular social issues,

ANT 464 Historic Preservation and Archaeology (A). Recognizes that archaeological sites, old buildings, places of religious importance, and landscapes are all “cultural resources.” Examines the development of historic preservation ideas, the laws structuring “historic resources.” Also examines the development of historic preservation ideas, the laws structuring historic preservation, and how this structure affects archaeological work in the United States. Practical aspects include an examination of local preservation initiatives, the mechanics of National Register nominations, and public presentation and outreach. 3 Cr.

ARH 310 Women in Art (A, C, W). Examines the contributions and creations of women to the visual arts throughout history, with an emphasis on the women artists of the last two centuries. Students will gain an understanding of artistic techniques and movements and become familiar with the social and political history of women in order to understand how such conditions affect artistic production.

ARH 420 Twentieth Century ART (A). Examines the major trends and developments of the 20th century, primarily in Europe and the United States. Students will learn how biographical, social, cultural, and political forces influence various artists. Helps students understand how art making is not a practice in isolation, but an expression of how creators respond to their interior and exterior worlds. 3 Cr.

ARH 431 American Art (A). Students will gain a broad comprehension of the painting, sculpture, architecture, photography, and popular arts made in the United States from the Colonial period to the present. Throughout the semester, thematic lectures will chart the history of our nation and simultaneously illustrate how the visual arts and visual culture influenced and were influenced by the notion of a distinctly “American” identity. 3 Cr.

ART 418 Documentary Film/Video (A). (Taught at Visual Studies Workshop, lab hours weekdays during Media Center hours.) Provides insight into the practice of documentary film/video making. Introduces and discusses basic tools and the principles of film narration and montage, as they apply to documentary film/video making. In hands-on exercises, allows participants to explore the creative process of interpreting "the world out there" by means of the moving image. 3 Cr.

CMC 327, Web Publication and Design. Introduces the basic elements of both print and Web publication design and production: headlines, text, photos and illustrations, type manipulation and use, charts and graphs, Web site links, hypertext, sound, video and other emerging publication technologies. 3 Cr.

HST 310 American Indian History (A,D). Provides an overview of the history of North America's native people from the pre-Columbian period to present day. Addresses the diversity and commonalities of Indian culture and experience, the consequences of Indian-European contact, the nature of Indian-European relations and the evolution of Indian identity. 3 Cr.

HST 313 Slavery in the Antebellum South (A,D). Cross-listed as AAS 313. Provides a study of some of the dynamics of slavery in the South between 1800 and 1860. Includes firsthand accounts of observers and the political, economic and racial implications of this system. Compares the US plantation slavery to other slave systems in the Americas. Encourages students to borrow from the disciplines of anthropology, sociology, literature, and economics, as well as from political and intellectual history. 3 Cr. Fall.

HST 324 Politics in America, 1780s-190s: Sex, Race, Culture & Party (A,W,Y). An analytical narrative of the interaction of sex, race, ethnicity, religion, culture and political party in American domestic politics, and its relationship with the world from the Founding Fathers to the Age of Reagan, 1780s-1990s. 3 Cr.

HST 328 Women in America (A,D,W,Y). Cross-listed as WMS 328. Focuses on the political, legal and social history of women in America, taking race, immigration, and class into account. 3 Cr.

HST 344 Sex, Sin and Sorority: Women in Early American Republic (A,W,Y). Cross-listed as WMS 344. Explores the origins of the modern American woman. Seeks to describe and explain the ways women in America transformed their reproductive, productive, political, and personal lives during the first century of The Great American Republic, c. 1776-1876. Is aimed at a general audience and has no prerequisites. Entails lectures, reading, discussion, quizzes, and essay exams. 3 Cr.

HST 358 US Family History (A,D,W,Y). Cross-listed as WMS 358. Focuses on family structures and strategies, challenges to patriarchal families, and changing views of marriage and motherhood. Includes consideration of Native American, black and immigrant experiences. Explores issues such as the effects of the women’s rights movement on families and working mothers, single parents, and alternative families. 3 Cr

HST 404 Safaris in Africa (A). Provides an in-depth exploration of the images and contests over nature that resulted from Western travel, scientific research, and conservation work in Africa (c.1860-). Students will analyze how Western visitors have viewed the African environment, constructed knowledge, and related their experiences for instance in the creation of exhibitions and museums about Africa. Students will also examine how these interactions shaped ideas about gender, race, and the role of the West in protecting African nature. 3 cr.

HST 411 The New York Experience (A). Explores New York State history from the hegemony of the Iroquois to today, including New York as a microcosm of national experience, cultural pluralism, economic development and politics. 3 Cr.

HST 414 The Salem Witch Crisis (A). Explores the various ways historians have sought to understand the most infamous witch-hunt in American history. Focuses on scholarship that explores the Salem Crisis so students can trace an unfolding historiography and compare various approaches to understanding this event. Demonstrates the contingent/contested nature of historical knowledge and investigates the process of historical inquiry. 3 Cr. Summer.

HST 415 Natives and Newcomers (A). Explores the context and consequences of Indian- European contact in North America (c. 1500-1840). Topics include the nature of pre-contact Native societies; the encounter of Indian and European cosmologies, economies, and methods of warfare; and the relationship between Indian-European contact and developing constructs of race, gender, and identity. 3 Cr.

HST 470 Consumerism in Europe and the World, 1600-Present (A). Introduces students to the theory and history of consumerism in Europe, America and globally. Requires that students read novels, monographs and articles pertaining to the history of shopping, advertising, fashion, globalization, cultural dissemination and effects on workers. 3 Cr.


Courses that will count with course substitution form: 

HST 401 Death, Memory, and Monuments in Irish History and Culture Program. This study abroad class in Maynooth, Ireland provides an opportunity for students to examine the concept of history as the creation of a "useable past" through the specific example of Celtic and medieval history's role in Irish national identity. English colonial rule over Ireland, and challenges to that rule, necessitated the identification of uniquely Irish history and culture as part of Ireland's national self-definition. This course examines the remnants of that Celtic and medieval past and the ways that its art and symbolism persist into the modern era as an essential expression of Irish political and cultural identity. We will focus in particular on the West of Ireland, exploring the rich cultural offerings of the Dublin area, its civic history, and it unique role as the center of Irish politics, but we will also visit important early sites in and around Glendalough and Offaly. Beyond the programmed itinerary, there is ample time for students to explore other famous and iconic areas of Ireland on their own on the weekends, and students are encouraged to do so.   For students who do not undertake independent travel on their free weekends, there are optional excursions for those interested in visiting Howth/Malahide Castle and Cork.

There are also two classes available at the Visual Studies Workshop (VSW) during the summer: 

Photo Archive Stories, $550.00, 3 credits (VSW). Photographs are fluid in meaning. Much of what the image says depends on context. In this workshop we will start from and appropriate photographs that are part of the VSW collections and use them to create book dummies that reflect on the nature and  history of photography while telling contemporary stories. 

Producing an Oral History, $550.00, 3 credits (VSW). This one week workshop presents an opportunity to explore the rich history of several key photographer/educators in Rochester, NY that have had a role in defining the medium of photography. In an intimate environment, workshop participants will discuss and record these photographer/educators as they share thoughts on their contributions to the field. The class will then organize the material for a multi-media presentation at the end of the week. A final product will be presented to the Visual Studies Workshop community and become part of the collection of the organization.  Workshop participants will use digital audio, digital photography and video to create this history document. There will be hands on instruction and experience with the media and materials used in creating the final document

Please visit for more information. 

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Last Updated 6/8/16