Museums, Archives, and Public History

Eleanor Townsley, Nexus director

Sabra Thorner, track chair

Desmond Fitz-Gibbon, track chair

217G Dwight Hall

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:

Lan Wu, Assistant Professor of History

Sabra Thorner, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Teaching Spring Only

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
Completion of the UAF application stages 1 and 2 1
A substantive internship 2
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

Additional Specifications

  • The sequence of a Nexus is important and 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 the presentation at LEAP Symposium.

    • The 300-level course following the internship will allow Nexus students to complete a portfolio or project which demonstrates their curatorial abilities.

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-316MUSpecial Topics in Anthropology: 'Anthropology in/of Museums'4
Art History
ARTH-242History of Photography: The First Hundred Years4
ARTH-271Arts of Islam: Book, Mosque, and Palace4
ARTH-300CRSeminar: 'Critical Approaches to Art Historical Study'4
ARTH-301MUTopics in Art History: 'Anthropology in/of Museums'4
ARTH-310CASeminar in Ancient Art: 'Collecting Global Antiquity'4
ARTH-310GASeminar in Ancient Art: 'Designing a Global Gallery of Ancient Art'4
Computer Science
COMSC-151HCIntroduction to Computational Problem Solving: 'Humanities Computing'4
DANCE-267Embodied Archives: Reading, Writing, and Researching Dance4
ENGL-362Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group4
Film, Media, Theater
FMT-102Introduction to Film Studies4
FMT-104Introduction to Media Studies4
First-Year Seminars
FYSEM-110GPGender and Power in the History of Mount Holyoke College4
FYSEM-110LGSlang: Community/Power/Language4
FYSEM-110MKRace in the Marketplace4
FYSEM-110PCOp-ed: Writing on Politics, Culture, and the Arts4
FYSEM-110PEPerforming the Self4
GEOL-201Rocks and Minerals4
Gender Studies
GNDST-204CPWomen and Gender in the Study of Culture: 'Trap Doors and Glittering Closets: Queer/Trans* of Color Politics of Recognition, Legibility, Visibility and Aesthetics'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 Money and Finance4
HIST-283MCTopics in the Recent History of the United States: 'We Didn't Start the Fire: The United States Since WW II'4
ITAL-221CTIntroduction to Italian Culture and Literature I: 'Cities in the Italian Renaissance'4
PHIL-350WUTopics in Philosophy: 'Women and Utopias'4
POLIT-233Introduction to Feminist Theory4
POLIT-255PAGender and Power in Global Contexts: 'The Politics of Abortion in the Americas'4
RELIG-271Arts of Islam: Book, Mosque, and Palace4