Museum Studies Program

Contact Information

Destiny Crider
Program Director

Museum Studies Department
Koren 319
700 College Drive
Decorah, Iowa 52101

Phone: 563-387-2156

As a museum studies minor, you’ll learn about the historical and theoretical foundations of contemporary museums. This will help you understand the history of museums and their impact on social, civic, and cultural life. You’ll also gain the practical skills and basic knowledge needed to work in museums and other cultural institutions.

The Museum Studies Program at Luther focuses on broadening knowledge, abilities, and values. As a museum studies minor, you’ll:

  • Explore museums and related cultural, historical, and natural heritage professions
  • Understand the purpose and mission of cultural, historical, and natural heritage collections, galleries, and museums
  • Learn about content appropriate to cultural, historical or natural history knowledge and methods of inquiry
  • Gain experience in the practice of research, communication, and engagement with a diverse public
  • Develop skills and methods appropriate to understand and communicate significance of cultural, historical, and natural heritage care and interpretation
  • Identify and apply professional ethics and policies related to acquisition, care, and distribution of cultural and natural heritage collections and exhibition
  • Apply values, skills, and knowledge within a guided experiential course set within an appropriate cultural, historical, or natural heritage environment, such as a museum, archive, gallery, or special collection
  • Identify and communicate personal and professional values and ethics related to the care and interpretation of cultural, historical, and natural heritage

Applied Learning

Museum studies students at Luther College have interned at a wide variety of regional and national museums, archives, and historical societies. A significant requirement of the museum studies minor, the internship course provides students the opportunity to work with museum professionals to further explore potential career pathways in archives, museums, and cultural centers.

Students can explore areas of museum education, curation and exhibition support, collections management, as well as business and communication. A variety of student internship projects span local opportunities on campus and those at regional and national museums.

Megan Gmitro standing in front of ancient ruins in Greece

Megan Gmitro

When: Summer 2017
Where: Isthmian Archaeological Museum, Corinth, Greece
Major: History

Megan interned at the Isthmian Archaeological Museum in Corinth, Greece. There, she cleaned, labeled, and bagged pottery sherds discovered at the Roman port of Kenchreai to be drawn, photographed, and cataloged by the museum. Megan also worked at the Cummer Tomb clearing away overgrown vegetation and dirt. Additionally, Megan worked at the remains of a Roman Basilica where she cleared more vegetation and unearthed tile and Mosaic flooring. This internship taught Megan how to handle, clean, and catalog artifacts. This experience also gave her an understanding of learning about the past based upon what others have left behind. The most rewarding part of her internship was being able to interact with history outside of a classroom setting. Megan was able to physically see where people used to live and interact and use what they left behind as a different approach to studying the past.

Miranda Joslin

Miranda Joslin

When: Spring 2016
Where: The Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum
Major: Art with minors in Spanish and Museum Studies

The Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum is dedicated to the preservation of the immigrant story through their objects, traditions, and artwork. For her internship, Miranda worked with the museum’s Chief Curator to update the Fine Art Collection’s records and gain notoriety for the collection on a national level. Specifically, she worked with the Smithsonian Database of American Painting and Sculpture to get 452 new pieces from 96 different artists registered for public use and study. Not only was it exciting to get to work so closely with the collection pieces (both through their records and physically handling the works), but Miranda enjoyed helping the collection grow and bringing attention to the hidden treasures of this “small-town” museum.

Steffenee Voigt

Steffenee Voigt

When: Summer 2016
Where: The Porter House Museum
Major: Art with minors in Education and Museum Studies

The Porter House Museum preserves and interprets its structures, grounds, and collections to inspire diverse audiences to share in the educational and recreational benefits of learning about Adelbert Field Porter and Grace Young Porter in the context of Winneshiek County history and Mr. Porter’s love of the natural environment. During Steffenee’s internship she worked as a docent giving tours of the museum. In addition, she created various museum education resources for the Porter House such as a worksheet for children and a visual aid demonstrating the butterfly mounting process that Bert Porter would have used. This was an exciting experience that helped Steffenee to develop skills in creating fun and engaging educational resources.

Annika Vande Krol graduated with a Nordic studies major and a minor in museum studies. She conducted summer research on painter Herbjørn Gausta, who attended Luther College in 1872. He painted portraits of influential people, genre scenes, and landscapes in the Midwest and Norway.

Vande Krol spent two summers researching Gausta in an effort to find previously unknown works.

Learn about this student-faculty research collaboration

Academic Semester Opportunities

Luther College believes in the transformational experience of global learning. Museum studies-focused opportunities are available through several programs, including the Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM) and other organizations that offer courses, unique professional and cultural experiences, and internship opportunities.

Many of our students have found internships with accredited cultural institutions such as the National Archives, the National Portrait Gallery, the Smithsonian, and other cultural and heritage institutions through participation in programs like Luther’s Washington Semester.

Museum Studies students are encouraged to advantage of semester study away programs, such as:

J-Term Opportunities

Students are also encouraged to participate in January Term courses that further explore museum topics both locally and worldwide.

My semester with the ACM Florence Program in Florence was truly a life changing experience. The program accommodated my interest in art restoration and set up an apprenticeship for me with one of the leading art restorers in Florence.

Laura Turco '16


Museum studies students are encouraged to explore career areas in cultural heritage, history, the arts, science, conservation, as well as business management, communications, and education. Many of our graduates have gone on to pursue advanced degrees in museums studies and careers in museums or related fields.

Through coursework, internships, work study opportunities with campus collections, and professional networking events our students explore different museum-related careers in:

  • Collections management
  • Curation
  • Exhibit development
  • Archives and special collections
  • Museum education
  • Business management for nonprofits
  • And so much more!

In some ways, I began my museum career during that first shift in the lab. When I interviewed for my master’s degree program, the professor was floored that I basically had four years of museum experience under my belt.

Megan Clark '05

The museum studies program was one of the primary reasons I chose to attend Luther. With its specially designed courses and internship requirement, I found it was uncommon in undergraduate institutions but a huge draw for me.

Katie Prichard '10

Contact Information

Destiny Crider
Program Director

Museum Studies Department
Koren 319
700 College Drive
Decorah, Iowa 52101

Phone: 563-387-2156