Program Structure: Curatorial & Museum Studies
The Master of Arts (Curatorial & Museum Studies) consists of four coursework
courses in Art History (which is equivalent to the Graduate Diploma in Art History),
followed by two specialist MA courses in Curatorial & Museum Studies - Curatorial
& Museum Studies A and Curatorial & Museum Studies B. Each of the Curatorial
& Museum Studies courses contains a research project and Curatorial &
Museum Studies B features an internship. The program can be taken full-time over
3 semesters (18 months) or equivalent part-time.
Four Graduate Diploma courses are offered each year, which include core courses in European, Australian and Asian Art and offerings from a range of specialisations. Courses are delivered over a standard 12-week semester. A detailed timetable for courses is available on our website. Of the 30 contact hours per course, approximately 10 will be spend in the Gallery with curatorial staff and the relevant collections.
The full program is a coursework Masters degree, comprising of four courses (Graduate Diploma), followed by Curatorial & Museum Studies A & B. These two courses will be also jointly taught in the Art Gallery and the University, and Curatorial & Museum Studies B includes a 20 day internship.
- Curatorial & Museum Studies A
- Curatorial & Museum Studies B
The 20-day internship program completed in Curatorial & Museum Studies
B is an arts industry placement which gives students experience and skills of
working in a gallery and museum environment. This placement is 'the jewel in the
crown' of the Curatorial & Museum Studies program because successful internships
do lead to employment.
What is involved in an internship?
Interns are exposed to a broad experience of the life of the Art Gallery of South Australia and other galleries and museums. Student placements include working in the curatorial section of an art gallery in collection-based research and exhibition development; and public programs including education, marketing and public relations.
The exact nature of the internship program negotiated depends on the time of the year and the specific needs and commitments of the Gallery or Museum staff involved.
The internship aims to:
- Broaden students' skills, expertise and experience in museum and gallery work
- Enable students to explore how specific areas of a museum operate (for instance the curatorial department) and to see how such activities fit into the larger institutional infrastructure
- Develop in students an understanding, awareness and critical appreciation of the museum and gallery culture
- Develop specific skills in students including collection-based research, cataloguing, researching artists and their work for forthcoming exhibitions, writing captions and wall text panels, becoming familiar with conservation issues and planning an exhibition hang
How long is an internship?
The internship should be a minimum of 20 days but it may extend to 25 days. This can be in a concentrated block or it may accrue as one or two days per week over a set number of weeks. Usually the placement is negotiated for one institution, but in special cases the internship may be negotiated with two differing institutions, for instance: 10 days with the National Gallery of Victoria and 10 days with the South Australian Museum.
In recent years students have completed internships at:
- Art Gallery of South Australia
- South Australian Museum
- Nexus Multicultural Arts Centre
- Flinders University Art Museum
- National Gallery of Victoria
- Art Gallery of New South Wales
- University of Adelaide Art and Heritage Collection
- Sothebys, Sydney
- Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory
- South Australian Maritime Museum
This is not an exhaustive list and there are a range of other galleries student might consider including: the Australian War Memorial; The Powerhouse Museum; the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Melbourne; Artlab; Port Pirie Regional Gallery; Riddoch Gallery, Mount Gambier; Hamilton Gallery and Shepparton Gallery.
Wallace-Crabbe, Marianne, Guidelines for internships, Art Museums Association of Australia, Fitzroy, Vic., c1993.
Values of the Internship?
The Internship program is a key training ground for entry to work in the arts industry. A number of our graduates have, following their internship, found work in galleries and museums. Below, and with permission from our students, are some comments about their placements.
The skills I learnt are vital to have as a curator and I feel will help enormously with any career in the arts industry. I have acquired skills such as cataloguing works, from the very basic measuring and noting inscriptions, to discovering titles or provenance, researching various historical and theoretical information regarding an exhibition, designing the hang of an exhibition and the education of an audience about an exhibition. I feel more confident in knowing what a curator's role is and how there are many varied tasks, which become the responsibility of a curator. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to learn from two curators a range of skills, which will equip me with the knowledge and confidence to undertake this role as a professional one day.
This placement has formed a fundamental base for my understanding of the process of provenance research, and to some extent the development of art collection and the progress of collectors of European art. It has broadened my perspective and knowledge of particular British Artists and their works within the Gallery's collection. Although the main thrust of my placement revolved around provenance research, I gained a great deal of knowledge in many other areas. This includes the workings of the Gallery itself, and the history, systems and principles related to collecting. Furthermore, in working closely with a member of the curatorial team, I was able to observe, question and become involved in many aspects of curatorial work that I otherwise would never have been exposed to. This placement was a truly wonderful, engaging learning experience and I hope to remain with the provenance project until it is completed, as a volunteer.
The internship gave me the knowledge and skills to enable me to pursue my ambitions in the field with renewed confidence and enthusiasm.
My curatorial internship at the Art Gallery of South Australia was one
of the most rewarding experiences of my academic life. I was fortunate to be involved
in the research and preparation of the catalogue for the 'Island to Empire' exhibition.
Throughout my placement, I was able to put the theoretical knowledge I had gained
from the Art History coursework programs into practice. My time at the gallery
was so enjoyable and inspiring that I have continued on as a curatorial volunteer.