Museum studies minor set in motion

For those interested in art, history or archaeology, pursuing a minor in museum studies might prove a beneficial decision. Starting next fall, John Brown University will offer a concentration in this area of study.

“The genesis of this came from a lot of things coming together,” said Trisha Posey, assistant professor of history. “It just seemed to make sense. There was a lot of student interest, area museums, and an archeological director here on campus. This was something none of our peer institutions offered.”

Comprised of six classes, the minor includes 12 hours of required courses in addition to an emphasis in archives and public history, art history or archaeology.

To create the curriculum for the program, the University conducted a survey of similar curriculums across the nation with professors and area museum professionals.

One particular discovery was the need to provide students with a strong business foundation.

Shane Buxman, a sophomore history major interested in the museum studies minor, is most excited to learn about the business aspect of museums. As part of the course, he will take both an accounting class and a management class.

“For archives and museums, you have to sell the history and the art,” Buxman explained.

“Students need to know how organizations and funding work,” added Posey. “These classes will help students with budget and institutional hierarchy.”

Students will also participate in an internship and a recently developed online class, Introduction to Museum Studies.

Beyond the core of the minor, those interested in archives and public history will complete two additional history electives, those interested in art will complete Art History I and II and those interested in archaeology will be provided with an opportunity to fulfill their credit via the Jordan Studies trip.

Thirteen students attended the informational meeting held Feb. 18. Posey said several more were considering adding the minor as well.

Buxman, who has enjoyed studying history since high school, hopes this minor will continue to prepare him for a future career as a professor of history or archives.

During his time at the University, Buxman has been exposed to the archival process through his work-study position. He answers people’s requests about the University history and continues to catalogue inventory in Archives.

He looks forward to the research the most, like when he learned about student involvement in campus activities during the 1960s.

“I think that God cares about the past and remembering about the past,” Posey said. “We should be encouraging students to think about what that looks like. As students think about the past, they think about what the past means in the context of the present.”

Posey expects that as students delve into the study of archives, art history or archaeology, they will engage questions of faith as well.

“The art they study is a gift from God,” she said. “Moving questions into a museum context is sort of a ‘hand’ element. How we as Christians think about past art allows us to serve others.”

If interested in learning more about the program, contact Posey at