Who visits museums?  How are collections and archives constructed? What social roles do museums and archives play? Students in this pathway will explore the diverse traditions of collection, curation, research, display, and preservation.

Students in the Museum & Archival Studies Pathway consider the histories, techniques, and challenges common to the diverse traditions of museums and collections, curation, and preservation practices. From small archives to large national collections, difficult dialogues surrounding justice and equity with respect to objects, collections, and accessibility are taking place at greater frequency. The Pathway seeks to promote and support a wide range of voices and to prioritize non-western contexts in decolonizing collections and institution. To this end, courses may also focus on specialized theoretical approaches to address histories of collection, teaching, and display, but also to confront issues of ownership, cultural patrimony, colonialism, and ethics.

Students who choose this pathway might expect to:

  • Build on critical understandings of the organization of arts, material culture, and science institutions
  • Explore controversial aspects of history, culture, and identity
  • Develop skills in information and collection management
  • Learn about conservation and preservation techniques

Careers associated with this pathway include an extraordinary array of disciplinary perspectives in the arts, humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. They include, but are not limited to:

  • Archival Science & Ethics, Documentary & Digital Preservation
  • Library Science & Education
  • Museum Studies & Curation (including Natural History [from botany to biology and paleontology to zoology])
  • Public History
  • Specialized Collections
  • Digital Collections & Display
  • Fine Arts
  • Museum Education
  • Museum & Gallery Management
  • Corporate Collections Management
  • Art Acquisition and Dealership
  • Collection/Display Design & Ethics
  • Cultural Patrimony & the Law
  • Preservation & Conservation
  • Archaeological Analyses
  • Archaeological Ethics

Faculty & Staff

Tracy Cosgriff

Tracy Cosgriff

Assistant Professor, Art and Art History, Middle Eastern & North African Studies


Elizabeth Derderian

Beth Derderian

Assistant Professor of Anthropology; Museum Studies (On leave for Fall 2023)


Claire J. C. Eager

Claire Eager

Assistant Professor of English


Mark Graham

Mark Graham

Associate Professor of Religious Studies; South Asian Studies; East Asian Studies; Co-Liaison to the Museum & Archival Studies Pathway


Madonna Hettinger

Lawrence Stanley Chair and Professor of Medieval History; Pre-Law Program (On leave for Spring 2024)


Denise Monbarren

Denise Monbarren

Special Collections Librarian, Libraries


Kara Morrow

Kara Morrow

Associate Professor, Art and Art History; Chair of Museum Studies; South Asian Studies


Olivia C. Navarro-Farr portrait

Olivia Navarro-Farr

Associate Professor of Archaeology; Sociology and Anthropology; Program Chair for Archaeology


Marianne Eileen Wardle

Marianne Wardle

Director and Curator of College of Wooster Art Museum; Co-Liaison to the Museum & Archival Studies Pathway; Adjunct Associate Professor of Museum Studies


Becky Webb

Pathways Program Coordinator, Global Engagement Office Administrative Coordinator


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Experiential Learning Opportunities (One Experience)

Students will complete one experience that meets the following description: Substantial/sustained off-campus internship, work experience, or volunteer opportunity, in the area of student’s interests and goals, which will include a formal reflection on quality and quality of engagement. Approved experiential learning opportunities should give students firsthand, guided experience working with digital, physical, written, or visual materials. Such opportunities include:

  • Work/work study experience on campus
  • Special Collections
  • Digital Collections
  • Ebert’s Digital Lab in CWAM
  • Wooster Digital History Project
  • Work experience off-campus
  • Internships off-campus
  • Internships on-campus
  • Research Assistantships
  • Field Research
  • Volunteer work such as docent and museum education or outreach
  • Shadowing Experiences with Alumni
  • Related Off-Campus Study programs


Reflective exercises at the beginning, middle and end of the pathway

Reflections guide students to articulate meaningful connections between the skills and knowledge they are gaining and the experiences in their coursework, experiential learning opportunities and career goals.

Reflections take place along five points in the pathway:

  • First Reflection Touchpoint: At the Start of the Pathway
    • The first opportunity to reflect is when the student declares their Pathway.  Responses to prompts asked at this moment establish a baseline from which student moves forward.
  • Second Reflection Touchpoint: An Opportunity to Investigate
    • At this point in the process, students will explore career and internship resources offered through Career Planning in APEX. They will also craft a career-ready resume.
  • Third Reflection Touchpoint: Before Experiential Learning Opportunity
    • This reflection offers students the opportunity to connect with professionals who will guide them as they plan their experiential learning for maximum growth and impact.
  • Fourth Reflection Touchpoint: After Experiential Learning Opportunity
    • This reflection takes place after the student has completed an experiential learning opportunity and asks them to consider how the work they have done connects with their pathway.
  • Fifth Reflection Touchpoint: At the End of This Pathway – and the Start of New Ones
    • At this touchpoint, students engage with questions that help them build connections between theory and practice, their career goals, and how they plan to extend their Pathway beyond Wooster.

Coursework (Three Courses)

Students will complete three courses from different departments within the following interest categories. Students are welcome to pursue various courses from multiple Interest Categories, provided that these decisions are made in consultation with a Pathway advisor, and that the student articulates the reasons for these selections in a written reflection in the form of a proposal and rationale as addressed above.

Anthropological Museums

Approved coursework in this interest area provides students with guided opportunities to understand how human cultures, histories, communities, and identities are (and are not) represented in museums. Students completing coursework in this area may also identify legal and ethical issues in ethnographic collections and displays.

  • ANTH-11000: Introduction to Anthropology
  • ANTH-21107: Museum Anthropology
  • IDPT-29900: Museums & Political Conflict
  • RELS-26925: Religious Visual & Material Culture
  • RELS-26740: Buddhist Visual & Material Cultures
  • RELS-26745: Materiality and Spirit

*Course has pre-requisite or requires instructor permission to register

Archaeology, Cultural Patrimony & Ethics

These are courses that encourage students to explore the methods, techniques, and reasoning employed to reconstruct and interpret past societies out of material and visual records. Ethical questions should arise for students completing coursework in this area surrounding the religious, social, political, economic, and cultural conditions of representation and discovery.

  • ARCH-10300: Intro to Archaeology
  • ARCH-20900: Special Topics in Archaeology (selected courses must be approved by Pathway Team)
  • ARCH-35000: Archaeology Method and Theory*
  • ARTH-22000: African Art (when it includes a course embedded exhibition)
  • ARTH-20800: Global Renaissance* (when it includes a course embedded exhibition)
  • ARTH-33000: Exhibiting Africa: Art, Objects & Bodies*
  • EAST-11000: Introduction to East Asia
  • HIST-27512: Ancient Arabian Religions

*Course has pre-requisite or requires instructor permission to register

Archives, Libraries & Collections: Curation & Preservation

Coursework in this interest area allows students to engage with histories and methods of curating & preserving written, visual, physical, and digital texts.

  • ARTH-31800: History of Prints* (with or without EL course embedded exhibition)
  • ENGL-23007: Nineteenth Century British Literature
  • ENGL 23040: Global? Book? History?
  • FYS-10100: Grow a Spine: Arts of the Book
  • IDPT-19916 Introduction to Digital Humanities
  • RELS-26740 Buddhist Visual & Material Cultures
  • THTD-10100: Theater Research and Writing
  • THTD-25200: Origins of Drama

*Course has pre-requisite or requires instructor permission to register

Visual Arts Museums: Curation, Conservation & Education

  • ARTH-22000: African Art (when it includes a course-embedded exhibition)
  • ARTH-29902: Global Renaissance (when it includes a course-embedded exhibition)
  • ARTH-31800: History of Prints* (with or without EL course embedded exhibition)
  • ARTH-33000: Exhibiting Africa: Art, Objects & Bodies*
  • ARTH-38900: Theory & Application in Art History*
  • ARTS-15300: Introduction to Painting*
  • ARTS-15500: Intro to Printmaking
  • ARTS-15900: Intro to Photography
  • ARTS-16300: Intro to Ceramics
  • RELS-26925: Religious Visual & Material Culture
  • RELS-26740: Buddhist Visual & Material Cultures
  • RELS-26745: Materiality and Spirit
  • IDPT-29901-01: Museums & Political Conflict

Natural History Museums: Curation, Conservation & Education

Approved courses related to museums of natural history should contribute to students’ applied understandings of evolutionary history and ecology. Students should draw ideas from this coursework on how to incorporate such understandings into the curation, conservation, and education of natural history.

  • ARTH-39900: Exhibiting Africa: Art, Objects & Bodies*
  • BIOL-35000: Population and Community Ecology*
  • BIOL-35600: Conservation Biology*
  • BIOL-31100: Natural History of the Vertebrates*
  • BIOL-32300: Natural History of the Invertebrates*
  • BIOL-34000: Field Botany*
  • BIOL-39900: Plant-Insect Interactions
  • ESCI-10000: History of Life
  • ESCI-19901: GIS Basics
  • ESCI-21500: Paleoecology*

*Course has pre-requisite or requires instructor permission to register

Public History, Digital & Material Collections, & Display

Approved coursework in this interest area should help students imagine how displays of histories, traditions, and cultures are produced, distributed, and received in various forms. Students may be challenged to consider legacies of conquest, colonialism, and other political or economic influences in working with original historical materials.

  • EAST-11000: Introduction to East Asia
  • ENGL-23040: Global? Book? History?
  • GMDS-11000: Introduction to Global Media & Digital Studies
  • GMDS-21000: Global Media*
  • HIST-20124: Public History*
  • HIST-29800: Making History: Theory & Methods
  • HIST-23100: The Making of Africa
  • HIST-23200: Africa from Colonization to Globalization
  • HIST-23400: Chinese Civilization
  • HIST-23500: Modern China
  • HIST-23600: Modern Japan
  • THTD-10100: Theater Research & Writing
  • THTD-25200: Origins of Drama

*Course has pre-requisite or requires instructor permission to register

Alternative interest area

Students may also consider organizing their own set of courses out of these options, by submitting a proposal to the Museam and Archival Studies Pathway Team.