Museums, Archives, and Public History

Eleanor Townsley, Nexus director

Katie Walker, coordinator

108 Daniel L. Jones Building

Overview and Contact Information

The Nexus in Museums, Archives, and Public History allows students to explore careers which draw specifically on capacities developed in the study of the humanities. These fields require multiple literacies: professionals must be fluent in understanding, analyzing, and communicating about visual artifacts, material culture/objects, historical landscapes, and digital sources. Additionally, students will take four credits of pre- and post-internship courses that facilitate thoughtful engagement with the internship opportunity. While the Nexus certificate requires one internship, a concentration in museums, archives, and public history depends upon internships as a component of professional training, so students undertaking the Nexus should explore a succession of internships at Mount Holyoke and elsewhere in a way that will allow them to develop a significant set of skills.


This area of study is administered by the following Nexus track chairs:

Desmond Fitz-Gibbon, Associate Professor of History

Requirements for the Nexus

A minimum of 18 credits:

Three courses above the 100 level chosen from the list of courses approved for this Nexus or selected with approval of the track chair12
A substantive internship 1
COLL-211Reflecting Back: Connecting Internship and Research to Your Liberal Arts Education2
A presentation at LEAP Symposium
One approved 300-level course from the list of courses approved for this Nexus or selected with approval of the track chair4
Total Credits18

At least 200 work hours and responsibilities that exercise ability to think analytically and creatively, and contribute meaningfully to the organization’s stated mission and complements the student's area of focus

Additional Specifications

  • Nexus students will develop a brief proposal outlining their specific area of focus including a course outline. Students will schedule an advising meeting with a track chair to get approval and complete a Plan of Study form to be returned to the Nexus Program office.

  • The sequence of a Nexus is part of what makes it unique:
    • In preparation for the summer internship or research, students complete courses chosen in consultation with the track chair. If seeking funding through LYNK UAF, students will additionally complete orientation and advising, and online training.

    • COLL-211 is taken after the internship or research project and culminates in a presentation at LEAP Symposium.

Courses Counting toward the Nexus

This is a list of courses with a concentration on collections or archives. Depending upon students’ individual interests, they can select other courses than those listed below in consultation with the Nexus track chair.

ANTHR-316DMSpecial Topics in Anthropology: 'Decolonizing Museums'4
ANTHR-316MDSpecial Topics in Anthropology: 'Museums, Difficult Dialogues, and Social Repair'4
Art History
ARTH-242History of Photography: The First Hundred Years4
ARTH-300AFSeminar: 'Curating African and African American Art: Up from the Basement and into the Collection'4
Computer Science
COMSC-151HCIntroduction to Computational Problem Solving: 'Humanities Computing'4
DANCE-267Embodied Archives: Reading, Writing, and Researching Dance4
ENGL-361ARAdvanced Creative Writing Topics: 'Creative Writing from the Archives'4
ENGL-362Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group4
Film, Media, Theater
FMT-102Introduction to Film Studies4
FMT-104Introduction to Media Studies4
FMT-230HPIntermediate Courses in History and Theory: 'Histories of Performance I'4
GEOL-201Rocks and Minerals4
Gender Studies
GNDST-204CPWomen and Gender in the Study of Culture: 'Trap Doors and Glittering Closets: Queer/Trans* of Color Visual Cultures of Resistance'4
GNDST-241HPWomen and Gender in Science: 'Feminist Health Politics'4
GNDST-333GSAdvanced Seminar: 'Gender and Sexual Minority Health'4
GNDST-333SSAdvanced Seminar: 'Gender and Class in the Victorian Novel'4
HIST-252History of Money4
POLIT-233Introduction to Feminist Theory4
POLIT-255PAGender and Power in Global Contexts: 'The Politics of Abortion in the Americas'4