Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies

Degree Type
Department Art and Art History
Academic Division The College
Offerings Minor
This multi-disciplinary minor allows students to complete work in the departments of art history, chemistry, classics, history, and sociology and anthropology. Required coursework introduces students to aspects of cultural heritage and museum studies including looting, trading, marketing, unearthing, conserving and curating.

Why Study Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies at W&L?

Students take innovative courses with small class sizes that are led by dynamic professors. W&L’s Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies courses prepare students to engage critically and ethically with cultural institutions. The minor affords student the opportunity to handle artwork and curate their own art exhibitions on campus.

About the Department

This minor reflects a broad set of concerns related to how we think about and treat cultural heritage objects and sites. In the 21st century, museum institutions — whether historic sites and battlefields, museums of science, art or natural history — stand at an intersection between education and cultural diplomacy where thorny issues about ownership, repatriation, preservation, tradition and looting are often very publicly debated. Courses of this minor relate to issues of ethical treatment of cultural heritage concerning the manipulation, production and destruction of objects and sites in pursuit of generating specific narratives of history and cultural identity. Through course work and experiential learning, the CHMS minor provides students the opportunity to examine both the theory and practice of cultural heritage and the museum world.

Internships and Awards

Summer internship in museum work: The Department of University Collections of Art and History offers an eight-week paid summer internship. The program provides students with an introduction to basic museum policies and practices through hands-on experience with the collection including: accessioning, cataloging, proper storage methods, research, database management and loans. After eight weeks, students will leave the program with a basic understanding of the major curatorial and administrative issues all museums face, regardless of the different types of collections they possess.

Thomas V. Litzenburg Award: The Thomas V. Litzenburg Award was created by the Reeves Center in 2004. The award is made annually, at the discretion of the University Collections staff in consultation with the Art Department or another relevant department, to the student who submits the best paper on artwork in the Collections. This annual prize is named in honor of Thomas V.  Litzenburg Jr., Class of 1957, and former director of the Reeves Center.

Andrea Lepage

Department Head

Caryl Bryant

Administrative Assistant

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