Intro to Museum Studies

I.     Course Prefix/Number: ART 120

       Course Name: Intro to Museum Studies

       Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite


III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course examines role of art museum curator. Content includes collection management and exhibit preparation, application of basic principles to other types of museums such as history, science or nature. The Koehnline Museum of Art at the Des Plaines campus serves as lab for course.

IV.   Learning Objectives

  1. The student will identify the basic functions of the museum curator.
  2. The student will evaluate art history material in the perspective of the museum field.
  3. The student will exercise computer data entry of artifacts.
  4. The student will identify the financial issues involved in operating a museum.
  5. This course will provide the students an educational experience in the museum field by improving problem solving and critical thinking skills.

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

Weeks 1-2: Introduction to Museums: history of museums; architecture of museums; cultural and social roles of the museum today
Weeks 3-6: Collection Management: budget issues; acquisition policy; registration; management software; care of collection
Weeks 7-10: Exhibitions: from idea to museological conception; objects and installation; continuity and development of exhibition; design of exhibitions; text and labels; the catalog
Week 11: Field Trip to Museum
Week 12: The William A. Koehnline Gallery and Oakton’s art collection
Weeks 13-15: Presentations of students’ final projects (review and critique)

VII.  Methods of Instruction

Course may be taught as a face-to-face, media-based, hybrid, or online course.

Lectures; field trip to a museum; practicum at the William A. Koehnline Gallery (the students will participate in research for the college’s art collection and the gallery’s future exhibitions).

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

Course may be taught as a face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

Attendance, assignments (5-page work sheets each) and final project.

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

Required textbook: Museum Basics (T. Ambrose and C. Paine)

Other Museum Studies textbooks will be available in the library, such as:

  1. Museums for a New Century, Bloom & Powel
  2. Learning in the Museum, G. Hein
  3. Museums Places of Learning, Hein & Alexander
  4. Registration Methods for the Small Museum, D. Reibel
  5. Caring for Your Art, J. Snyder
  6. Exhibitions in Museums, M. Belcher

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

Grades are determined by two assignments (a survey of a museum – 20% and a survey of an exhibition – 20%) and a final project, a production of an exhibition (concept and design, including a presentation of ground floors, models and a catalog – 60%).

XI.   Other Course Information

In this section, each instructor will specify policies on attendance, late assignments, make-up exams, etc.

Please note:
Some of the activities, lectures and assignments in this class may include imagery that is controversial, uncomfortable, shocking, has nudity, and personally unpopular to one's beliefs. If a student objects to this practice, he/she is encouraged to discuss with the instructor early in the semester alternative ways of completing course requirements.

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at

Electronic video and/or audio recording is not permitted during class unless the student obtains written permission from the instructor. In cases where recordings are allowed, such content is restricted to personal use only. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited. Personal use is defined as use by an individual student for the purpose of studying or completing course assignments.

For students who have been approved for audio and/or video recording of lectures and other classroom activities as a reasonable accommodation by Oakton’s Access Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC), applicable federal law requires instructors to permit those recordings. Such recordings are also limited to personal use. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited.

Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action through the Code of Student Conduct.