ANTH 462 students Elisabeth Frank and Frances Fedele share their shadow-box exhibit on bread-making

First Class! CSU Students Prepare for Museum and Cultural Heritage Careers

Joshua Zaffos

A new and equipped group of future museum curators and cultural heritage managers from Colorado State University is ready for admission. The first class of graduates from the Department of Anthropology and Geography’s Museum and Cultural Heritage Studies Certificate completed the program this spring. The 12-credit undergraduate certificate, launched in 2020, introduces students to museum history and collections management, cultural heritage management, artifact handlingcuration methods, and other knowledge and skills. Seven undergraduates completed the program this May, including Anthropology, History, and Art and Art History majors. 

“I am very proud of my first graduates!” said Jeannine Pedersen-Guzman, Certificate Program Lead and CSU Archaeological Collections Coordinator. “Many of them who were with me as I developed the certificate program are now ready to begin their careers in the museum and cultural heritage sectors. I look forward to seeing what they accomplish.”

The program course requirements include two classes developed by Pedersen-Guzman specifically for the Museum Studies certificate — Museum and Cultural Heritage Studies (ANTH 240) and Anthropology Curation and Exhibition Methods (ANTH 462) — as well as a student practicum or internship at a museum, cultural site, or repository.

“There’s an entire world going on behind the scenes [at museums],” Pedersen-Guzman said. “From artifact preservation to exhibition development, in fact, one of the things we learn about museum exhibits is that you get to use a variety of mediums to tell your story, and that’s what we learn in the course is how to communicate in a variety of ways and to keep things interesting and provocative.”

This spring’s ANTH 462 students prepared portable, shadow-box exhibits on a range of museum-worthy topics including COVID-19, the Black Lives Matter movement, archaeological excavations, the histories of pencils and breadmaking, and others.

“The museum class was a really great introduction into museum curation and exhibit-building,” said Elisabeth Frank, an Anthropology major who earned the Museum Studies certificate and graduated in Spring 2021. “The shadow box project was one of my favorite parts of this semester.”

A Ram Productions/ College Alliance for Media video featured the Museum Studies program and ANTH 462 students their spring exhibit projects.

“In the end, we hope that students have the knowledge and also the hands-on skills and experience,” Pedersen-Guzman said, “and then they can take that as an enhancement on their degree and an extra avenue to explore once they graduate.”