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Museum Studies and Public History

 

Are you passionate about sharing your love of history, but know you don’t want to become a secondary teacher?

Do you love museums and historical sites?

Does the idea of working indoors in an office every day seem dreadful to you?

 

Think about a career in museum studies, public history, or cultural resource management!  These fields encompass what we formerly called “applied history.”  According to the National Council on Public History, “public history describes the many and diverse ways in which history is put to work in the world.”  Public history practitioners are museum professionals, oral historians, archivists, cultural resource managers, preservationists, conservationists, archaeologists, project managers, researchers in the entertainment industry, and others.

There are many specific duties associated with each field.  Oral historians might work for a government entity or a private corporation, but they must be familiar with state and local confidentiality laws and must adhere rigorously to professional standards.  Museums employ researchers, catalogers and archivists, exhibition managers, and fundraisers.  In California and many other states, cultural resource managers work as consultants to real estate developers, local, state and federal governments, and private companies.  They must have extensive training in history, archaeology, certain technical skills like Geographic Information Science (GIS), and are usually Registered Professional Archaeologists (RPAs).

The good news is that you can take courses here at CSULB as you prepare for graduate study in one of these fields or obtain an entry-level position in museum work.  Click here for our GE worksheet designed to help you gain some introductory skills in the field of cultural resource management.

Here are more suggested courses to take as you work through the major:

History 494: History Internship – gain practical experience in the field while you earning credits toward your breath requirements in the History major.

For Oral History:  Be sure to take HIST 402: Oral History Methods – it counts toward the breadth requirements!

For Museum Studies:  Take courses in art history, languages, arts, and the humanities, as well as courses in business –

ACCT 201: Principles of Accounting
FIN 300: Principles of Finance
BLAW 220: Introduction to Law & Business Transactions
IS 300: Management Information Systems
IS 301: Business Communication.

For Cultural Resource Management: Take courses that will prepare you for advanced study in archeology, in preparation for RPA certification:

AIS 485: American Indians and the Law
ANTH 401: Foundations of Anthropology
ANTH 405: Principles of Archeology
ANTH 455 & 456: Archeological Methods and Theory I, II
ANTH 487: Cultural Resources Management
BLAW 425: Real Estate Law
FIN 340: Real Estate
GEOG 280: Principles of Geospatial Techniques
GEOG 485: Principles of GIS

For Conservation and Historical Preservation:  Take introductory courses in the sciences, including Chemisty, Geology, and Biology, as well as Art.  Take advanced courses:
GEOG 340: Environmental Geography
GEOG 446: Land-use Planning
GEOG 447: Landscape Restoration