Letter From The Director

After nearly two years of research and preparation, Niagara University will launch a new undergraduate degree in partnership with the Castellani Art Museum. Beginning in the fall of 2013, a BA in Art History with Museum Studies will be available to Niagara University students. This is the first time the museum will be connected to an academic degree, and we are thrilled to be a part of the University's academic sector. The degree will be offered through the College of Arts and Sciences' Department of Theatre and Fine Arts.

The concept for the new degree was developed by myself and our CAM Curator of Education, Marian Granfield. While many colleges and universities in our WNY region offer graduate level degrees in Museum Studies, or other related disciplines, Niagara University will be one of a very few institutions in the country to give undergraduate students the opportunity to explore these fields of study and areas of potential employment.

The new combined major is truly unique in introducing students to both the academic study of art history and the more practical focus of museum studies. Art History courses will survey the visual arts from prehistory to contemporary times and examine the relationship of art to other aspects of culture. Museum Studies courses will explore the museum profession, from the skills needed to operate a museum, to theories on the role of museums in society. Hands-on learning through internships at the Castellani and other regional institutions will be an integral part of the Museum Studies component.

The BA in Art History with Museum Studies will prepare Niagara University students for advanced degrees in art history, visual studies, arts administration and museum studies and, we believe, increase student opportunities for successfully applying to art-related graduate programs in our region and beyond. On the other hand, some graduates may choose to move directly into entry level positions as curators, archivists or preparators in galleries, museums and other cultural organizations. The US Department of Labor Statistics predicts that employment opportunities in museums will rise by 20% over the 2008-18 decade.

In researching employment opportunities for Art History majors, Marian found that they may work for restoration firms, publishing houses, insurance and appraisal firms, antique dealers and auction houses. Students may choose a more traditional path after completing a graduate degree and pursue an academic career in Art History at a college or university.

Many thanks to Marian who did an outstanding job in creating the curriculum for the BA in Art History with Museum Studies. As the proposal for the new degree worked its way through approval by the University's Curriculum Committee and Academic Senate, many colleagues commented on Marian's skill and creativity in crafting the program. Much appreciation goes to Dr. Nancy McGlen, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, who championed the new degree from its earliest inception to its final approval by the New York State Department of Education.

Kate Koperski