Museum Studies & Gallery Practice
Museum Studies & Gallery Practice
Museum Studies & Gallery Practice at UCCS
The Museum Studies & Gallery Practice (MSGP) program offers a major or minor through a strong lineup of courses related to the theory and practice of working in museums and galleries. In addition, MSGP offers students professional training through the opportunity to intern in local museums as well as in UCCS's Galleries of Contemporary Art or Heller Center for Arts and Humanities.
A Message from the Program Director
Welcome to the Program in Museum Studies & Gallery Practice at UCCS!
There are two tracks for this program: a minor that is paired with the major of your choice or our Bachelor of Innovation (BI) degree in Museum Studies & Gallery Practice (MSGP). Both tracks combine academic studies and professional training to prepare you for variety of careers at museums, galleries, science centers, cultural centers, historical societies, and more. The BI degree is structured so that you will not only gain a depth of understanding in museum studies, but also a breadth of other disciplines, business, and entrepreneurship.
The major is composed of core courses in museum and gallery practice, art history, visual and performing arts (VAPA), and innovation and cross-disciplinary studies. You will learn about the different types of museums and organizations, develop the necessary skills for collections management and exhibition design, as well as examine the ways in which objects and cultures are represented. In addition, you will study the history of art and visual culture from prehistoric cave drawings to the latest theories in contemporary art and culture. The Innovation core will introduce you to entrepreneurship, grant and proposal writing, and invaluable team projects with regional organizations. The cross-discipline component includes business, creative communication, engineering technology, or globalization.
The minor is designed to fit with your major of choice, whether in Anthropology, History, Biology, Art History, Visual Arts, or any other. The museum core classes are cross-disciplinary and offers students professional training through the opportunity to intern and work in collections, education, and exhibits in local museums as well as in UCCS's Galleries of Contemporary Art.
We look forward to welcoming you to the program!
UCCS offers both a Bachelor of InnovationTM and a minor in Museum Studies & Gallery Practice (MSGP). Both degrees combine academic studies and professional training to prepare you for variety of careers at museums, galleries, science centers, cultural centers, or historical societies.
MSGP faculty also work as museum program coordinators or curators at local museums and curation facilities. Broadly trained and with experience in teaching and research as well as in curating exhibits of various types--historical, archaeological, arts-based, scientific and technological, and more--our faculty are well equipped to provide students the theoretical foundations for their MSGP studies combined with the hands-on curation experience and detailed training that employers seek.
The UCCS Galleries of Contemporary Art are the most progressive and experimental contemporary art galleries in Colorado Springs, showcasing award-winning work by artists of significant national and international reputation. GOCA's newest exhibition space, the Marie Walsh Sharpe Gallery of Contemporary Art, is located in the Ent Center for the Arts. Designed as a flexible and transformable museum-quality exhibition space, this 2,600 square foot white cube gallery is state-of-the-art with certified humidity control systems. The gallery's flooring system and grid of strong points in the ceiling can accommodate art installations in nearly any configuration.
The UCCS Galleries of Contemporary Art are the most progressive and experimental contemporary art galleries in Colorado Springs, showcasing artists of significant national and international reputation. GOCA 121 is off-campus, located in the heart of downtown and focuses on innovative collaborations between local, national, and international curators and artists. GOCA 121 also hosts the VAPA Visual Art senior thesis show each May. GOCA takes student employees in addition to Museum Studies & Gallery Practice students and provides one-of-a-kind experience in art preparation, installation, and curation.
Within the grounds of the UCCS Heller Center for the Arts & Humanities is a small gallery space that hosts exhibits of student work as well as other curated collections. Through internships with the Heller Center, MSGP students have the opportunity to design and curate entire exhibits based on their own research.
The Seyhan Dwelis Curation Facility, housed within the UCCS Department of Anthropology, gives students practice in collections management through paid internship opportunities.
The Visual Resource Center houses two professional Epson Stylus Pro printers, a graphic arts scanner, and two iMac desktop computers - both with Adobe Creative Cloud. Students may also check out manual cameras, dSLR and mirrorless digital cameras, microphones, lighting equipment, audio recorders, digital projectors, tripods, and GoPro and video camcorders for course-related projects. Located in Columbine Hall.
The Dock is an installation space and student-run gallery and events center branching off the Painting/Printmaking Studio. Located in Centennial Hall.
Gwendolyn Swift graduated from UCCS in 2018 with a BA in Art History (HAVC) and a minor in Museum Studies & Gallery Practice. After transferring from Pikes Peak State College with an associate's degree in art, she chose her majors for her passions--history and art--and a practical desire to learn how to apply those passions to museum and archival work. Says Swift, "From my experience, most people who study art history have their sights set on working within the GLAM sector--galleries, libraries, archives, and museums--whether as a curator, registrar, educator, conservator, or something related. HAVC in VAPA is great because it prepares you for those things but also positions you to work in the performing arts in an administrative capacity" by giving you connections to additional visual and performing arts fields.
Gwendolyn notes that one of her favorite memories from UCCS was interning at GOCA and helping install contemporary art for exhibitions. "In art history, you're not only studying the past, you're working with pieces created today. So it was awesome to experience the here-and-now side of things firsthand, complementing all the theory we were being exposed to in classes."
What advice does Swift have for students considering a degree in History of Art & Visual Culture or Museum Studies? "Seek out practical advice as early and as often as possible. The degree is only a part of the picture, and it is much easier to land internships during school [through] active contact with professors who know of opportunities. You will also learn what areas you want to dig deeper into--this will help you decide what kind of graduate program you may want to enter." Gwendolyn adds, "Have an open mind, both with the content you study and with the opportunities you are presented with. Don't be quick to turn something down because it doesn't align perfectly with what you see as your specialty. It's good to have a breadth of exposure to as many experiences as possible, and you will build a more robust network."
The VAPA Program in Museum Studies & Gallery Practice has established internships with the following institutions:
- UCCS Galleries of Contemporary Art
- UCCS Kraemer Family Library Archives
- UCCS Heller Center for the Arts & Humanities
- American Numismatic Association's Money Museum
- Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum
- Manitou Springs Heritage Center
- Pikes Peak Trolley Museum
- Space Foundation Discovery Center
Periodically, additional internship opportunities may be available. For more information and to apply, please contact the Program Director.
Interested in learning more about jump-starting your museum or gallery career? Contact us for information on our programs.