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Academic Programs

Leadership in Museum Education


  • Program Overview

    The application is open now for the fall 2020 Leadership in Museum Education program.

    Educators are at the forefront of change, championing the needs of diverse learners. While COVID-19 is stopping us from doing a lot during these challenging times, your professional development can still happen—safely.

    Our master’s degree program in Leadership in Museum Education is a two-year program, culminating in an MSEd, and all graduate classes are beginning online this September. As museums reopen, and it becomes possible to move safely about New York City, we will convene in person, especially for site visits.

    You will meet for two years culminating in an M.S.Ed. in Leadership in Museum Education.

    Class discussions will be infused with today’s timely issues impacting cultural organizations, leading to direct connections between theory and practice. Classes are led by experienced practitioners from across the country, along with guest speakers. You’ll be given opportunities to connect with an alumni network from across the country.

    Courses will develop your capacity for leadership, organizational change, learning and human development, community engagement, diversity, inclusion, and access.

    Focus one year on learning and learning environments, development, diversity, collaboration, interpretation and exhibition planning. Focus the second year on museum mission and strategy, organizational theory, communication, visitor research, marketing, development and finance.

    Ideal candidates are professionals who think reflectively and strategically about how museum education can advance organizational inclusion, engagement and community participation.

    Starting in fall 2021, a new program will be launched with a new name to accommodate the growing needs of our students—Learning and Engagement in Museums and Cultural Organizations. This new curriculum re-envisions Bank Street’s successful museum education and leadership programs to provide you with the professional preparation and expertise that will enable you to strengthen the capacity of our institutions to support a vibrant, diverse learning community.

    Group shot of Leadership in Museum Education students

  • Admissions Requirements

    In addition to the main admissions criteria, applicants must already work in a cultural institution.

  • Coursework

    Course highlights include:

    • Unpacking learning theories, discussing development theories across the life span, observing children, families and adults in museum settings, and learning techniques for collaboration and interpretation.
    • Building understanding for how organizations work, how to work more effectively with others, construct your own leadership narrative and support others towards a shared vision.

    View the coursework for this program.

    Classroom shot of Leadership in Museum Education students

  • Supervised Fieldwork/Advisement

    Supervised fieldwork/advisement lies at the heart of a Bank Street education. Through sustained experiences in the field, supervision from core faculty, and close collaboration with peers, our graduate students develop the ability to connect theory to practice and to reflect deeply on their own growth as educators. In this program you will:

    • Receive coaching and advisement from an educational leader with extensive experience working in museums and cultural institutions (over the two years of the program)
    • Share work experiences with smaller conference groups
    • Host a visit by your adviser (each year) to your worksite to observe you at work and offer feedback
  • Career Opportunities

    Your degree will provide you with a range of career opportunities:

    • Advance from emerging professional/coordination/junior management level positions to positions with increased responsibility, scope, vision and collaborative abilities leading to change in museums and related organizations
    • Join a network of professionals spanning museums across the country and work closely with three cohorts passing through the program (including your own)

    Leadership in Museum Education students posing in front of a Clyfford Still artwork

  • Faculty

Having the opportunity once a month to come to New York City, immerse myself in learning, exploration, deep conversation and engagement with colleagues from other museums and leaders in the field, renewed my interest, helped me create a professional network, and inspired me to think bigger and more strategically about my own work.
Shari Rosenstein Werb, GSE ’00

Alumni Spotlight: Paula Santos

Museum Education alum Paula Santos was named in the Blooloop 50 Museum Influencer List 2020 for her work leading major art museums across the country. Santos has focused much of her time on social justice initiatives to help create equitable museum programming. She is also the host of the Cultura Conscious podcast and a founding member of the Museum Workers Relief Fund, which has raised funds to support museum workers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

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