This full-time program offers a rich, intense and comprehensive introduction to the fascinating world of art museums. It is designed for students considering future careers in art museums and art galleries. The program investigates a wide variety approaches to the subject, from the largest questions about art museums’ and galleries’ social and cultural roles, to issues concerning the presentation and interpretation of art objects within them. Students explore current debates about art museums and galleries in the context of the history of collecting, care and exhibition of works of art from the sixteenth-century onwards. Key components of modern art museum and gallery practice, such as acquisitions and collecting, collections management, display methods, exhibition planning, conservation, learning and interpretation are examined. The approach is practical, direct and hands-on.
Through the prism of historic and contemporary practice, the programme also considers the position of the gallery curator at the centre of a complex and fluid network of professionals. It will explore the dynamic working relationships that are so fundamental within museums and galleries, and provide students with a window into these vital and otherwise unseen communities.
London, one of the world’s great museum capitals, is our laboratory. Approaching the subject from the distinctive perspective of Sotheby’s Institute, the programme includes a series of on-site and behind-the-scenes visits to London art museums and galleries, both public and commercial. These visits enable students to gain first-hand experience of exhibition spaces, which will be compared and contrasted with examples from Europe, the Americas, Asia and the Middle East. With a wide variety of guest speakers presenting talks on their own roles in museums and galleries, students will benefit from the knowledge and experience not only of curators, but also conservators, collections registrars, and exhibition project managers as well as those involved in interpretation, publication, audience research, development and marketing.
The program requires no prior knowledge of the field.
Upon successful completion of the course, you'll walk away with:
- Knowledge of museum-level standards of object care and documentation, which can be applied flexibly to the public and commercial art world sectors
- Skill and practice in pitching a curatorial concept and exhibition package to a panel through the experience of the Group Exhibition project
- Practical skills in writing across a range of areas in museums and curating, encompassing exhibition wall text, loan letters, catalogue entries and press releases
- A foundational understanding of the history of the art museum and of curatorial practice, that prepares you for a postgraduate program at Sotheby’s Institute of Art if your undergraduate degree is in a subject other than Art History