Past connect

The lowdown
Although museology sounds academic and began with museum theory and practice, today it is much more hands-on and people-centric. While object documentation, preventive conservation, display and interpretation methods, storage, security still remain at the core, the focus today is centred on the museum users. Museums need footfalls and museum professionals today need updated know-how regarding visitor behaviour patterns, market segments, branding, education, and publicity. Many museologists are subject experts on the collections they handle. For example modern art, ancient history, numismatics (coins), textiles, botany, zoology, or even a period or place in history. Museologists work in museums and galleries, both government and private, as curators, museum educationists, exhibition coordinators, consultants, among other roles. Today, many large corporate houses have museums too. The key point is that museologists should be passionate about the objects and collections they handle, and use them to spread enjoyment and knowledge, making museums a fun place to visit

Morning: Read the papers to know what is happening in town, especially in other galleries and museums
10am: Reach workplace, plan for upcoming exhibition, draft press release, make a round of display spaces under your charge, answer mails, attend team meeting. Do one or all of these
1pm: Lunch
2pm: Work in the gallery spaces, plan or hold an education workshop, meet people, read the latest regarding international museum practices, work on regular accounts and database entries. The work may involve some or all of the above
6pm: Head home. On days prior to exhibition openings, stay till 9pm

The payoff
Assistant curator: Rs. 25,000 to Rs. 30,000 a month in an Indian museum

* A grounding in a basic subject like history, art history, (science if you intend to work in a science museum)
* Management skills, communication skills, visualisation skills
* You must have research and writings skills, understand the material and be able to re-write or translate it for your audiences, both inside and outside the museum

Getting there
Graduates in various disciplines can enrol for a master’s in museology. Candidates with a bachelor’s or master’s in history, ancient history, archaeology, anthropology, Sanskrit, fine arts, physics, chemistry, botany, zoology, geology, earth science, agriculture, environmental science, and marine science can apply. Check individual institution’s requirements as well

Institutes and URLs  
* MA in museology, National Museum Institute of History of Art, Conservation and Museology, New Delhi
* MA (fine) museology, MS University of Baroda, Vadodara
* MA/MSc in museology, University of Calcutta, Kolkata
* MA in museology, BHU,
* MSc/Post-MSc diploma in museology, Aligarh Muslim University

Pros and cons
* You handle priceless artefacts
* Tour with travelling exhibitions

Many passionate museologists are subject experts on the collections they handle - Sujata Parsai, head, Cultural Communication Programmes, Flow India, an organisation which promotes education through art and museums across Delhi


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