Fisk University Museum Leadership Program
The Fisk University Museum Leadership Program is an innovative, practiced-based initiative designed to educate, train and advance the careers of underrepresented minorities in the field of museum leadership. It is a certificate program developed in collaboration with the HBCU Alliance of Museums and Art Galleries, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas, and the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Supported by the Diversifying Art Museum Leadership Initiative funded by the Ford Foundation and Walton Family Foundation, the work of this program is critically important in addressing the documented lack of diversity and opportunities for people of color in the field.
The program consists of four modules: 1) Art Conservation, 2) Museum Curation, 3) Museum Education, and 4) Museum Development. Year one involves each of the four modules, which engage students in intensive practical in-person training from one to three weeks. During the modules, program participants have the opportunity to learn from guest lecturers from museums and cultural heritage institutions from around the world serving in a variety of roles—directors, curators, conservators, visitor studies specialists, education professionals, development, finance, and communications officers. Additionally, students have access to online materials which supplement the information imparted during the modules.
In year two, selected students from the year one cohort are matched with a partner institution for a one-year practice-based, fully-funded fellowship. During the fellowship year, students develop new skills and enhance skills and knowledge obtained from the first year of the program. They observe and are actively engaged with day-to-day museum operations and develop and sustain relationships with museum professionals.
The comprehensive two-year program provides core skills and training across the four modules and also involves mentorship and an experiential fellowship where students apply what they learned in the program in a real-world, professional setting. Students successfully matriculating through the program are well-prepared for a career in the museum field and/or graduate-level training at top academic institutions.
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Conservation Module, Fisk University
Fellows learn about art conservation through participation both in a week-long in-person intensive and through a virtual class on art conservation and/or engagement with an art conservator.
Curatorial Module, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
Fellows learn about museum curation through participation both in a week-long in-person intensive, through webinars on museum curation, and through hands-on engagement with their campus curator.
Georgia O’Keeffe Museum
Fellows learn about museum education through participation in a week-long in-person intensive, through a virtual class on museum education and through in-person museum education activities with their campus museum education representative.
Fellows learn about museum development through participation both in a week-long in-person intensive, in a virtual class on museum development and in-person engagement with their campus development officer.