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New Drexel University Graduate Program Will Prepare Students for Museum Leadership

March 05, 2013

The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University will serve as a learning laboratory for students in the new museum leadership program

A new graduate program in Drexel University’s Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design will prepare students for leadership roles in museums across the country and around the world. The Master of Science degree is designed to meet the needs of both mid-level museum professionals who want to advance their careers and students who are aspiring leaders in the field.

The 45-credit, hybrid program includes a combination of on-campus, online and practicum coursework. It was developed in partnership with the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, which will serve as a learning laboratory for students, along with other area museums. Drexel is currently accepting applications for the program’s inaugural class entering in the fall of 2013.

“Museums of the future will need leaders who are capable of managing large, complex organizations that are entrepreneurial in spirit and practice, who understand and can respond to the needs of a changing community and who understand the role of technology as a marketing and management tool,” said George W. Gephart Jr., president and CEO of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University. “Drexel’s new Master of Science degree in museum leadership will offer students the skills they will need to meet these challenges of today and tomorrow.”

Students will be exposed to issues at various types of museums, including science, history and cultural museums, as well as historical houses and sites and living collections such as zoos, arboreta and aquariums. The interdisciplinary curriculum was created in collaboration with faculty from the iSchool at Drexel, the University’s School of Education and Drexel’s College of Arts and Sciences, as well as colleagues from the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University.

“The new graduate degree in Museum Leadership is a natural extension of Drexel University's partnership with the historic Academy of Natural Sciences, as well as our long-standing interest in leadership in the cultural sector through our nationally recognized arts administration program,” said Allen Sabinson, dean of the Westphal College. “We built this program in a uniquely Drexel way, drawing upon expertise from across the University, from the Academy of Natural Sciences and with input from museum leaders.”

The new degree program will be officially introduced on Friday, March 15, at a one-day conference at Drexel during which prominent leaders in the field will discuss key issues facing directors and trustees in building, maintaining and sustaining museums in the 21st century. Keynote speakers will include Camille Akeju, director of the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum in Washington, DC, who will address museums of ethnic identity; Ford Bell, president and CEO of the American Alliance of Museums, who will speak about museum governance; and Dr. Julian Siggers, director of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, who will discuss museums and financial sustainability.

Other participants in the conference include George Gephart, president and CEO of the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia; Dr. Brent Glass, director emeritus of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History; Gail Harrity, president and COO of the Philadelphia Museum of Art; and Dr. Anne-Imelda Radice, director of the American Folk Art Museum in New York and former director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Members of Drexel University’s faculty will also contribute to the conference.

Registration for the conference is free, but space is limited. Post-conference visits to three area museums will be available for an extra charge. The conference will take place in the URBN Center Annex Large Screening Room (3401 Filbert Street). To register for the conference, click here.

Drexel University’s Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design offers 17 undergraduate degrees and seven graduate degrees. The College is based in the newly renovated URBN Center, located at 3501 Market Street.