History of Art and Architecture

Museum Studies Minor


The Museum Studies Minor was developed in consultation with museum professionals in the local Pittsburgh region from the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, the Andy Warhol Museum, and the Society for Contemporary Craft. We conceived of this minor as one grounded in the History of Art and Architecture department’s historic strengths – to offer students a critically informed understanding of how cultural artifacts have been, are and can be collected and curated. Since then, benefitting from the department’s partnership with an expanding number of local collections and historical sites, sponsored by the generosity of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, we have been able to extend our opportunities to a diverse cohort of students who come from the social sciences, history, and natural sciences as well as the humanities. History of Art and Architecture works closely with institutions and organizations across the arts, history, natural science, botany, industry and technology. In our courses and internship program, our students study the preservation, archiving and exhibition of historic objects, documents and specimens from material culture. They consider not only how museums and historic sites generate knowledge but also how they partner with diverse communities to enrich our understanding of what it means to be human and how we occupy the world. At its core, the goal of the Museum Studies Minor is to introduce students to the approaches, history, and theories of museum and collection practices. While this minor would be useful to students thinking about museum professions, it would also benefit any student who is interested in the generation of knowledge through the tangible artifacts and sites of visual, material and scientific culture.


Minor Requirements

Students must take the following (15 credits):

ONE Foundational Course from the following list (a pre-requisite to HAA 1020 and HAA 1025)-- (3 credits):

  • HAA 0010: Introduction to World Art
  • HAA 0020: Introduction to Asian Art
  • HAA 0030: Introduction to Modern Art
  • HAA 0090: introduction to Contemporary Art

THREE Core Courses -- (9 credits):

  • One of the following:
    • HAA 1019: Curatorial Development (offered every spring semester)
    • HAA 1020: Exhibiton Presentation (offered every fall semester)
    • HAA 1021: Inside the Carnegie Museums
  • HAA 1025: The History and Ethics of Collecting Art and Cultural Property
  • HAA 1905: Museum Studies Internship, conducted with a museum institution or organization, archive or gallery in consultation with Alex Taylor (formerly HAA 1903: History of Art and Architecture Internship)

ONE Elective Course: (3 credits) – students must select one of the following, or consult with Maria D'Anniballe, the Museum Studies Minor advisor about a suitable alternative that aligns the student’s individual interests with the goals of the minor:

  • ANTH 0582: Introduction to Archaeology
  • ANTH 0780: Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
  • ANTH 1541: Cultural Resource Management
  • CLASS 0600: Introduction to Mediterranean Archaeology
  • HAA 1030: Special Topics – Museum Studies
  • INFOSCI 0010: Introduction to Information, Systems and Society
  • Any of the core courses (HAA 1019, HAA 1020, HAA 1021) not taken above

NOTE: HAA majors may ONLY OVERLAP a foundational course with the requirements of that major.  



See the work our recent students have conducted as interns at local organizations, and fuller information on the internship program.


Featured Courses


2016, taught by Prof. Jennifer Josten:

Students will have the unique opportunity to assist in the planning and implementation of an exhibition that will be held in the late fall in the Frick Fine Arts Building's gallery space. In fall 2016, the exhibition will focus on how ephemeral and participatory artworks are exhibited, with an emphasis on efforts that emerged in Latin America during and after the 1960s. There will also be a general introduction to key concepts within museum studies and curatorial discourse so that students may gain a broad understanding of the many facets of successful exhibition planning, design and implementation. In addition to helping to organize and install the exhibition, students will be expected to participate in class discussions based on weekly readings, attend several required fieldtrips to local museums, and submit a final portfolio of materials created during the class. Beyond the usual course workload, this seminar requires a significant commitment of time outside of class, including team meetings, installation, and de-installation responsibilities. In fall 2016, this course is open to both undergraduate and graduate students, and will include sufficient coverage of Latin America to toward the Certificate in Latin American Studies.

2015, taught by Janet McCall, Executive Director of the Society for Contemporary Craft:

The Museum Studies Exhibition in the Fall 2015 explored the historical and contemporary absence of diversity in art institutions, specifically of African American artists. The statistics revealed by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s Comprehensive Survey of Diversity in American Art Museums, released in June 2015, gave students of the course a starting point to think about the idea of absence in art collections and museums. With only two artworks from the University Art Gallery (an evidence stated in the Mellon Survey) and loans from the Braddock Library’s Transformazium Art Lending Initiative, students invited more than 50 artists from the African American community in Pittsburgh to present a total of 73 artworks. Exposure: Black Voices in the Arts attracted 1,000 visitors in little less than 5 weeks, with 300 people at the opening itself. The exhibition and the important social conversations it raised were also featured in Pitt Magazine’s Spring 2016 issue. The exhibition was praised by most of the participating artists as well as by many visitors, and opened new relationships with the local community outside of the immediate University public. As a direct outcome of this project, Janet McCall, the instructor of the course and Executive director of the Society for Contemporary Craft in Pittsburgh created a new one-year Emerging Black Arts Leaders Apprenticeship opportunity at this non-profit organization. 


HAA 1025: HISTORY AND ETHICS OF COLLECTING AND CULTURAL PROPERTY, taught every spring semester.  Instructors: Profs. Shirin Fozi and Alex Taylor

What is worth collecting? What motivates collectors? Spanning art, archeology and material culture from the ancient world to the present day, this course explores the tensions between private property and public heritage that shape the history of collecting. Subjects will include iconoclasm and the destruction of cultural artefacts, booty and looting in times of war, cabinets of curiosity, private and corporate collectors, deaccessioning, repatriation and the ethics of public collections. Particular attention will be paid to the upheavals of World War II, the aftermath of colonialism and the role of UNESCO in prohibiting the illicit trade in cultural property. Students will encounter historical, anthropological, and art historical approaches to these issues, and gain practical experience with collection management systems and provenance research. This is a core course for the minor in Museum Studies.



Spring 2016: Introduction to Museum Evaluation in the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh. Instructor: Erin Peters, Lecturer in Curatorial Studies and Assistant Curator, Carnegie Museum of Natural History

This course will explore the ways museums seek to co-create programming and exhibition projects with their audiences through evaluation and visitor studies by working with the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh as a laboratory. We will spend class time engaging with the history and theory of visitor studies and the ways in which museums and audiences interact, and in practicum through evaluating past, present, and future projects at the Carnegie Museum of Art and Natural History in the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh’s Oakland campus. We will learn museum evaluation through conducting informal and formal audience evaluation and visitor research in conjunction with the temporary exhibit Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion and for projects in CMNH’s Walton Hall of Ancient Egypt and CMOA’s Art before 1300 gallery, the Hall of Architecture, and the Forum Gallery.


Spring, 2015: Introduction to Museum Studies at the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh. Instructor: Erin Peters, Lecturer in Curatorial Studies and Assistant Curator, Carnegie Museum of Natural History

This course will explore the past, present, and future of museums by working with the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh as a laboratory. We will spend class time as site visits in the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, and the Andy Warhol Museum, and engage the CMP as examples of an art museum, a natural history museum, and a single-artist museum. Through this engagement, we will investigate the ways these particular institutions approach administration, collecting, stewardship, display, education, and visitor engagement and outreach, thereby introducing the historiography of museums and the practical and logistical ways they work. We will also focus on the pioneering initiative of the CMP to organize as four distinctive museums connected under one umbrella as a springboard to think about the future of museums.