Museums offer an environment for communities to take a break from the highly tech-savvy society that we’ve become. It is a place where we learn about our culture and heritage and discover new passions. All these places of art, nature, and history, too need trained professionals for their management. Here’s where the need for museum studies as a study discipline arises. Museum studies online courses offer knowledge to students in various aspects of a museum, from curation, finance, and collections, to administration.
Graduates and Masters’ in this discipline generally secure a position in the museum setting as curators, museum technicians, managers, administrators, archivists, gallery assistants, or conservators. Museums make up over 700 thousand jobs in America alone. As per a recent report by the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a 13% growth in the museums and historical sites sector is expected by 2026.
Further, an equivalent rise in employment of curators/archivists is projected to be around 14% while jobs for museum technicians can grow by 12% during the same timeframe. Museum studies offer the knowledge and skills that widen your scope for building and growing a career by working at a museum.
List of Best Museum Studies Online Courses
So, if this is your calling, then here are a few top Museum Studies online courses you should definitely check out to enhance your skills.
1. Museum Studies Certificate — Online Program
The Northwestern School of Professional Studies offers this certificate course on Museum Studies. There are many museum studies online courses available but this course is useful for those preparing for a graduate certificate in museum studies as well as other diverse careers within museums like administrative, curatorial, educational, or collections management. This online certificate program is offered every quarter and, a student can complete it at his own pace. This course has a diverse curriculum that will prepare you for your professional or volunteer career in different speciality disciplines within museums, parks, zoos, gardens, and aquariums.
- Learn about the history of museums and their cultural significance.
- Know how collections and community inform museum missions.
- The lectures and discussions will also discuss the ethical challenges a museum faces.
- You will learn how you can develop audiences to widen your reach and increase footfall.
- Know how to maximize the learning opportunities and make museum visits worthwhile.
- Learn about finance, management, and fundraising for better functioning of museums,
- Understand the need, scope, and ways for organizational development.
Course Duration: Self Paced
2. Certificate in Museum Studies
The University of Washington offers this certificate course on Museum Studies, which provides detailed knowledge of museum administration, programs, exhibits, collections, and community interaction. Enthusiasts interested in entering this field along with working professionals willing to enhance their knowledge can enrol in this course. This certificate course is self-paced and explores varied institutions and venues, including traditional museums, science centres, botanical gardens, historical societies, and zoos. With a real-life project, you will also learn how your skills are applied when you actually start working.
- Learn different strategies for planning and effectively managing new program developments.
- Learn how educational programs for kids and adults can be designed, developed, promoted, and evaluated.
- Know the policies and procedures relating to the management of collections and donations.
- Know the essential principles and functions of exhibit designing, production, display, and maintenance.
- Learn how community relationships are built, maintained, and developed with donors, supporters, and audiences.
- With hands-on experience working in a museum, you will get a behind the scene of work at a museum. Learn how to work with artefacts, museum management, planning and designing of exhibitions
Course Duration: 8 months
3. Museum Studies Graduate Certificate
The Harvard Extension School offers this online graduate certificate in Museum Studies. This program provides a comprehensive understanding of museums and what it takes to become a museum practitioner. You will study different museum management practices in this course, such as leadership, financial management, collections, and administration. There are many museum studies online courses available but this course will give you a feel of what a modern-day job at a museum would look like. You can earn your certificate upon completing this online program from the ease of your home.
- Learn about various important museum management practices like financial management, administration and leadership, resource building, and organizational behaviour.
- Understand the facets of the exhibits and visitor experience.
- Learn the creation, design, development, conservation, and collection management of an exhibit.
- Know more about museum-oriented topics, like museum law, technology, improvements in design, and visitor engagement.
Course Duration: Self Paced
4. Museum Collections Management & Care Online Certificate (MCMC)
Next is the online certificate course on Museum Studies offered by the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design. There are many museum studies online courses available but this course features four graduate-level courses designed to provide knowledge about the management and care of museum collections. It is covered in 4 semesters with 3 credits per semester. This fully online program can be taken up by working or volunteering professionals in museums with collections management responsibilities as well as students interested in this field. You will also get a chance to work at various museums as a part of fieldwork in the course of this program.
- Study what items are commonly found in museums, why they deteriorate, and how museums do conservation.
- Know what role preventive conservation plays in museums, the issues, and how collection risks are identified and mitigated.
- Understand the vital role of non-conservators in preserving collections and artefacts in a museum.
- Know the legal and ethical duties of people managing the museum and its collections, acquisitions, and deaccessions.
- Get opportunities to learn from the practical application of principles and practices of collection management followed by modern museums.
Course Duration: 4 semesters
5. Museum Studies Certificate
Fifth in the list of museum studies online courses, this Museum Studies Certificate program is offered by the University of Iowa. It offers experiential learning by combining history and theory. This online course is perfectly suited to meet your professional development needs. Professionals have created this course enriched with a forward-looking curriculum that will educate you. It will also help you prepare for working in museums, zoos, botanical gardens, science centres, parks, and historical houses.
- Study the origin and history of museums and their evolution over time.
- Learn about the best care, preservation, and management of collections and the significance of doing it effectively.
- Know how you can increase audience and community engagement through creative ideas, designs, and approaches.
- Know how non-profit fundraising works, and learn finance management.
- Study the organizational structure of strategic planning in a museum.
- Learn about professionalism and communication and their importance when working in museums.
Course Duration: Self Paced
6. Certificate in Museum Studies
The Virginia Association of Museums together with the JTC College offers a Career Studies Certificate in Museum Studies. This online program will introduce you to work at museums and help in your professional development. You will learn what it is to be engaged in maintaining and exhibiting the collections. It gives you a chance to explore topical areas of interest. If you are interested in museum studies or are a student associated with museums or other cultural organizations then, you must enrol in this online course.
- Learn about different aspects of museum management in a comprehensive way.
- Know about collection care, exhibitions and outreach, and internal and external relationships.
- Become a career-oriented museum worker with the high-level knowledge needed for professional growth.
- Train from organizations across the country and get hands-on and professional experience in the industry.
Course Duration: 5 weeks
7. Museum Studies, M.A.
Next is the Master of Arts degree in Museum Studies online courses offered by the University of Oklahoma. This program is designed for students willing to pursue post-graduation in the field of museum studies. This online course will teach you about the history of museums, museum management, museum culture, and research methods. You will also learn how primary facets of museum operations are evaluated and what is the industry standard of museum collections.
- Get introduced to the graduation program, and interdisciplinary studies, and study its fundamentals and research methodologies.
- Know what is the world of a museum, and how it is maintained and operated.
- Learn about the architecture and structure of museums, and know about museum history and its evolution.
- Undertake a museum project to get practical exposure and know the museum environment better.
- Learn about museum culture and communities and their significance.
- Learn museum management, collections management, and leadership in a museum.
Course Duration: 33 hours
8. Arts And Heritage Management- Coursera
Next is a course conceptualized to teach the skills and techniques essential to help you become a professional in handling and managing museums and places of culture and art. This completely online course is covered in six modules and you also earn a certificate once you complete this course. Experience an incredible value addition and skill enhancement from the comprehensive learning that professional managers have to offer in this course.
- Understand what heritage and art actually need, and what is their importance.
- Know why visitors visit a museum, what is their role, why are they so important, and how are they affected by the museum’s offerings.
- Know how value creation is done through art and how customers value these and their quality.
- Understand how the viewers and audiences make a choice and learn how customers can be used to improve museum business and offer valuable experiences.
- Learn how can museums and art institutions develop, design, and implement a sustainable growth strategy with the use of information, data analysis, and behaviour study.
- Know how can brand loyalty be enforced and audience reach can be expanded while retaining the current ones in today’s technologically driven environment and increased competitiveness online.
Course Duration: 16 hours
9. Museology New Media And Museum Communication
Universita`Iulm offers this Master’s course on Museology and Museum Communications. This program has been carefully designed for learners interested in developing skills in contemporary museology. It discusses museums and museum studies as having high cultural significance and talks about the interconnection between museums and heritage. This course is offered in collaboration with the European Museum Academy Foundation (NL), which makes the learning experience even more fulfilling.
- Know about the recent evolutions in museum situations across Europe. Learn the conceptual tools needed to analyze the core activity of museums and exhibitions.
- Understand the global state-of-the-art video productions and installations and how the archives present the materials from all over the world.
- Get involved in discussions on the important issues of the museological debates and the need for innovation in museums and especially science museums.
- Understand what the special role museums have in modern society by studying an attentive selection of readings as tools for analyzing the topic.
- Know what a museum of the future looks like and why museums should engage in participatory programs to move ahead and go beyond the traditional collection-oriented approach.
Course Duration: 18 months
10. M.A. in Museum Studies
Tenth in the list of museum studies online courses, the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences offers a Master of Arts Degree in Museum Studies through the Advanced Academic Programs division. For meeting the educational and intellectual strength development requirements of working adults, it offers a Johns Hopkins education to interested candidates. This course is available 90% online and a two-week onsite study seminar to get real-life working experience. This makes it flexible for being completed at your pace, from wherever you are. This program is sure to provide you with an enriching learning experience through engaging discussions and interactions.
- Get introduced to museum education and know the history and philosophy of museums.
- Learn how to design, organize, and manage exhibitions along with insightful exhibition strategies and understand the business of museums.
- Know what is museum evaluation and audience research and how it is carried out.
- Learn how museums do collection management and what are the key considerations in doing so.
- Study museum controversies and why they arise, along with different ethical issues museums face.
- Study the architecture of museums, their construction, practices, exhibition patterns, and evaluation projects.
- Know why and how museums practice public history and the level of accessibility in the museum.
- Learn about the modern-day approach to the conservation and restoration of museums, libraries, and archives by understanding their issues.
Course Duration: 20-24 months
11. Museum Education- Online Distance Learning
The University of Glasgow offers this program on Museum Education as an online, distance learning program. This course aims at improving your knowledge and building skills by learning through studying the museums. If you are interested in knowing more about museums and increasing your museum education, then enrol in this program to move a step further in pursuing a career in this field. Offered as a part-time, fully online program, it provides high-quality education in an interactive learning environment.
- Know what modern educational thinking is, the curriculum development of museum studies, and why this education is significant.
- Expand and extend your knowledge about museums by studying under a guided network of museum experts and professionals working in this field.
- Take part in discussions, research, comparison, and analysis of current practices, provisions, and policies museums globally follow.
- Understand the museum as a source for learning, and development and as a tool rooting us to our culture and heritage.
- Learn about access and inclusion in museums, how museums carry it out, and what factors are given special attention.
- Learn research applications in real life, along with knowing how theory is put into practice.
Course Duration: 36 months, part-time
12. M.A. in International Heritage Management
With a different outlook, the next course, based on international heritage management, is offered by the University of Birmingham in partnership with the Ironbridge Gorge Museums Trust. This program will further develop your knowledge, understanding, and skills needed to build a career as a heritage manager. This program has been offering an advanced qualification in heritage management for over 25 years, along with practical experience of the Museum Trust in managing heritage attractions. If future research into heritage and museums work, conservation, regeneration, and management of historical sites are what excite you, then this course is made for you.
- Study the prominent issues in understanding heritage and culture and understand heritage to be independent of a predefined form, and know why it is significant and how it works.
- Learn visitor management and engagement, collections management, conservation and planning legislation, sustainability, accountability, and economic stability.
- Know what professional skills are needed for successfully managing museums and places of art and heritage. Understand the issues related to sponsorship, donations, external funding, fundraising, financial management, and volunteer and staff management.
- Learn about exhibition design and layout, interpretative program planning, monitoring, communication theory, interpretative media and language, evaluation, and visitor behaviour.
- Learn ways of marketing museums and heritage sites to increase heritage attraction, along with effective digital and social media marketing.
- Know various techniques and theories of heritage study, management and recording approaches, attributes of heritage sites, and the communities peculiar to particular cultures.
Course Duration: 1 year full-time, 2 years part-time
13. Archival Studies- Graduate Certificate
The Graduate Certificate in Archival Studies offered by the University of Arizona is about archival practices and knowledge of the archives. The course curriculum is designed to give you the core knowledge you must have to dive into archives-related professions. Developed in accordance with the guidelines of the Society of American Archivists, this online course teaches you the composition, meaning, and significance of cultural artefacts. Enrol in this course to develop new skills and enhance your knowledge of the archives and records management profession.
- Study the fundamentals of library and information services, and get introduced to digital collections, and applied technology.
- Get introduced to archives and collections, and learn their preservation, management, and restoration.
- Learn about advanced archives, advanced digital collections, and community-focused archives.
- Know what cataloguing, database development and management, are and why museums need it.
- Understand how documentation of diverse cultures and communities is carried out and its significance in modern times.
- Understand the need for preserving and managing digital collections in a digital information environment.
Course Duration: Self Paced
14. Museum Studies, M.A.
Up next is the Master’s degree in Museum Studies that Johns Hopkins University has to offer. This comprehensive program is designed to prepare future museum professionals as visionaries of change. It will provide you with the required knowledge, skills, perspectives, and approaches that museum managers of this century must possess.
Highly regarded professionals and experts will help you excel in this topic through this specially crafted online course. If you are someone interested in museums, parks, zoos, botanical gardens, and other such historical sites, and are willing to expand your knowledge, then this course is for you.
- Know the roles and duties of museum professionals and practitioners, discuss their importance, and assess their needs.
- Know what the present challenges museums faced and figure out feasible solutions for overcoming them.
- Learn how present-day museums design and develop their collaborative projects and know what efforts they put into their implementation.
- Undertake practical work to gain hands-on experience and learn real-life skills and knowledge of real museum work, and demonstrate your ability to add value to the museum’s multifaceted role.
- Discover ways to please diverse museum audiences and analyze various methods for doing the same. Also, learn how innovative technology can be used in museum practice and strategize for it.
Course Duration: Self-paced
15. Certificate in Digital Curation
Fifteenth in the list of museum studies online courses, Johns Hopkins University is back with another Advanced Academic Program, and this one is a Certificate program in Digital Curation. A course in the emerging field of digital curation focuses on the planning and management of digital assets.
Learn how everything is carried out and managed, from acquiring and actively using to the long-term preservation of digital assets. You will learn why a sudden increase in the need for digital curation has arisen and how emerging professionals can meet them. Enrol in this course to improve your education and training in this field of museum and cultural heritage.
- Learn about various kinds of digital assets, how to manage them, and preserve them to ensure their accessibility.
- Learn about the beneficial practices for digital curation of culture and heritage, and participate in developing and promoting its standards.
- Know how professional literature in this field is studied and how you can contribute to its development.
- Understand how a critical need for digital curation professionals has emerged due to the creation of valuable digital assets by places of culture and heritage.
Course Duration: 12-15 months
16. Museum Studies
This Master of Arts in Museum Studies offered by the University of Oklahoma will provide you with a museum education with unique museum operation ideas. This program is developed by museum professionals to help learners deal with real-world problems faced while working in a museum. This 100 per cent online course will equip you with fundamental skills like museum management procedures, budget administration, exhibits, collection management, educational programming, and visitor interaction. Enrol now to learn and work through this program and advance your career in this field of museums.
- Study museum collections, their maintenance, care, and restoration.
- Know the history of museums, their evolution over the years, and the architecture of museums, and explore the world of museums.
- Learn the essential skills of museum management and leadership, collection management, and administration of museums.
- Learn museum interpretation, know various museums, cultures, and communities, and the controversies around them.
- Study the historic preservation of museums and their collections. Learn about Small Museums and the House Museum.
- Learn about museums and native cultures and the significant value they hold in different cultures.
- Enhance your museum education by knowing specific problems arising in Museology and the role of technology in modern museums.
Course Duration: 20 months
17. MA in Museum Studies And Certificate in Digital Curation
The Advanced Academic Program of John Hopkins University is here to offer a combined credential program on Museum Studies and Digital Curation for easing your burden. Now, if you choose to study the two programs together, you will only need to complete 14 courses instead of 16. This online program has been specially designed to provide an enriching learning experience to the students to support and help them move ahead in their professional journey. If this seemed interesting then, bring your interests in the preservation and management of cultural heritage digital assets together, now!
- Learn the fundamental of digital curation and how the digital information in museums and archives are managed.
- Undertake a digital curation research paper and certificate internship to enhance your practical knowledge and skillset.
- Know about the evolution of museums in the digital age, digital preservation and restoration of collections, and their usefulness.
- Know about museum procurement, project management, collection management, project finance, marketing, exhibitions, contracting, and museum economy.
- Know what innovations and scientific developments are taking place in modern, changing museums. Also, learn about different culturally specific museums.
- Understand the importance of technological advancements and how they are changing the functioning of museums.
Course Duration: Self Paced
18. Socially Engaged Practice in Museums And Galleries
The University of Leicester offers this course to study the role of museums and museum practitioners in shaping and reflecting society’s take on contemporary issues and ensuring benefit to museums. The ‘Socially Engaged Practice in Museums and Galleries’ program will develop your skills in addressing social issues in museums and galleries. Enrolling in this program will enable you to practice and research the impact museums and galleries can create on advocating for social justice. This course is offered online, which makes it very flexible to be pursued. Take up this course now to benefit from a wide range of topics covered in modules.
- Understand the socially engaged practices in museums and galleries, assess their impact on museum transformation, and know how these can be interconnected into the work of museums and galleries.
- Learn about ethical practice, i.e., liberation and change, and activist practice, i.e., empowerment.
- Learn the care, management, curation, preservation, and restoration of varied objects and collections.
- Know how museums follow marketing and cultural management to expand their reach and increase turnout. Also, understand the relationship between museums and the natural environment.
- Know about the leadership structure at different levels, and an ethical framework for practice, and learn to conduct visitor studies and audience research.
Course Duration: 2 years, part-time
19. Master of Arts in Museum Studies
The MA in Museum Studies online degree program is developed in collaboration with the Newyork Historical Society. This course will prepare the students with the knowledge and skills essential to engage in professional museum practice. Along with theory, you will also learn the practical applications of museum operations like administration, finance, curation, documentation, technology, procurement, etc. This course also makes an attempt to reiterate the basic underlying principle of diversity and inclusiveness in a museum place.
- Understand the history, background, theory, and emergence of museums and public culture.
- Know what practices are best suited for collection acquisition, care, and archival management and how they are applied.
- Learn the different methods, ways, and styles of designing exhibitions, evaluate and select the method, develop diverse content, and deliver the same in front of the visitors.
- Know the educational aspects of museum practice, understand how it works, and then evaluate it.
- Understand the important need for efficient and integrated administration. Know why museums require an integrated and efficient administration.
Course Duration: Self Paced
20. Museum Practice And Management
Ulster University offers this museum practice and management course to share the best practice and expertise in different aspects of museum studies. This course has been developed within an international context, and it will teach you collection management, cultural management, and exhibition practice. Further, lectures also discuss the prominent issues concerning the museum profession globally and show how they can be resolved. This program also emphasizes strategic thinking and effective management which are crucial for an organization to achieve its objectives. Enrol in this course and become professional museum practice-ready.
- Understand the complex forces affecting museums’ functioning and the policies and values related to them and the heritage sector.
- Know what are the present collections management practices in museums. Understand how museum registration and accreditation and planning for collection procurement management and disposal are done.
- Conduct research in the field of museum studies under the supervision and guidance of your tutors and mentors.
- Understand exhibitions and other elements within museums as forces for learning, evolving, and communicating policies and priorities.
Course Duration: Self Paced
21. Museum Studies- PGDip
Last on our list of museum studies online courses, is the Postgraduate Diploma in Museum Studies offered by the University of Leicester. This program is designed to provide you with an enriching learning experience along with practical exposure to excel in this field. Upon completing this course, you will have developed a comprehensive understanding of the principles and practices of museums. Advance in your career as a museum manager with increased expertise and skills by enrolling in this course. What makes this course even more valuable are the experts and highly qualified professionals who will be teaching you.
- Understand the current critical principles and practices of museum studies thoroughly.
- Learn about the activist practice in galleries and museums. Also, know the social role that art galleries and museums play through well-organized exhibits.
- Know the museum ethics, why they are necessary, and how they are interpreted.
- Develop your expertise in the area of your choice by pursuing your particular interest in the field of museum studies and undertaking a work-like project on the same.
- Learn about heritage, culture, digitalization in museums, the natural environment of museums, museum management, and issues of museums.
Course Duration: 18 months
Hope this list of museum studies online courses help you find a suitable course for you. Take online courses seriously and level up your career.