For the past several years, there have been discussions (both formal and ad hoc) around curricular cooperation in museum or curatorial studies. As evidenced in the strengths of the Museums10 collaboration, we have deep and diverse assets in our museum collections, as well as in the internship opportunities they give to our students. Each year the museums present an extensive program of guest lecturers, workshops, symposia and related events. These are key examples of the cultural richness of the consortium, which enhance our teaching in manifold ways.


Current Programs:

There are currently programs in museum and curatorial studies that are either on-going or in development at all five institutions:

At Amherst College, the course in Museums and Societies (Carol Clark and Samuel Morse) continues to anchor their art history offerings; the student docent program at the Mead is being redesigned; their Mellon faculty seminars continue to bring together a mix of faculty from across all colleges and disciplines; and their new Curatorial and Teaching Fellow in Japanese art directly links the museum to the curriculum.

At Mount Holyoke College, there are two new programs currently proposed: a Nexus concentration in Public History, Museums, Archives and Digital Humanities; involving a range of faculty, museum, and library/technology staff; and a Lynk initiative in Curating and Criticism, made up of faculty from Art History, Architectural Studies, and Film Studies, also supported by both faculty and Museum staff.

At Smith College, the Museum Studies Concentration—run by the Museum, but supported by a cross disciplinary cohort of faculty–continues to grow and develop, with upwards of 60 students in the concentration at a time. Uniting practice with pedagogy the program is a course of study in the history and cultural role of museums and the professional disciplines that they engage. Moreover, the core course in this concentration, “MUX 118 History and Critical Issues of Museums” has become an important hub for students from across the Five College consortium interested in exploring the field.

At the University, there are two programs in development. The first is a new undergraduate certificate program in Museum Studies, housed in the Art History program, and the second is an expansion of the program in Public History, currently exploring ways in which to bridge the undergraduate programs and the graduate programs through greater collaboration, and new and revised courses, as well as seminars and events.

At Hampshire College, the new summer Institute in Curatorial Practice has been developed to fill a curricular gap, expose students to alternative career paths, and serve as an important new opportunity for students from across the colleges to explore new modes of digital curation. Involving Museums10, faculty from a wide range of disciplines (from cognitive science and anthropology to the arts and humanities) and curators, educators, librarians, and information technologists, this program is focused on the role of new media platforms, and on the extensive research, conceptual frameworks, rhetorical practices, and digital design strategies that are essential to curatorial practice in the 21st century.


Internships in Digital Curation:

Our current project also includes summer internships for students from the five colleges to work directly with faculty, museum, library and IT staff on projects in digital curation. These internships are targeted towards students who attend the Institute for Curatorial Practice, and therefore have had exposure to these new technologies. The Institute is scheduled to meet from June 2 to July 3rd, and the internships will begin immediately afterwards and run for five to six weeks in July and August, with a panel presentation of their projects in the Fall semester, as well as opportunities for the students to stay involved with the faculty and museums/libraries during the school year. Although run by Hampshire, the Institute for Curatorial Practice is based on Five College and Museums10 cooperation, and has been collectively developed over the past year. Each summer, students in the the ICP will work on site with the museums collections, and will be producing on-line exhibitions that will link the Five College library, archival, and museum collections together, and therefore be a continuing resource for our institutions throughout the school year.


Below: A lightning talk by student James Kelleher (Hampshire College) on The Institute for Curatorial Practice from the 5CollDH 2014 Kick-Off Event.


Project Members:

Karen Koehler
HACU, Hampshire College

Jennifer Gunter King
Director of Libraries, Hampshire College

Christoph Cox
HACU, Hampshire College