Through the minor in Material Culture Studies, students and teachers examine the material world we have made and seek to understand people's cultural beliefs, values, ideas and assumptions as expressed in the things and places they create, use, see, and live in.
Students minoring in MCST will:
- Examine material objects as living artifacts, as texts and contexts, to better imagine, interpret, and appreciate the world we inhabit.
- Experience culture in a unique environment of interdisciplinary learning, teaching, research, and public service.
- Participate in seminars, field-based research, and collaborative ventures with institutional partners and state, regional, and national organizations.
- Contribute to the documentation, interpretation, preservation, and teaching of material culture.
Why Minor in MCST
If you'd like to learn more about objects, and the stories that objects tell, then choose the minor in Material Culture Studies. The minor can help you:
- Understand the diversity of cultures through the things and places people create.
- Gain new perspective on the objects and sites around you, both the everyday and the extraordinary.
- Add a material culture dimension to knowledge you're gaining in your major.
- Prepare for a career in teaching or with various cultural institutions, including museums, historical societies, and historic preservation agencies.
- Prepare for graduate school in such related fields as art history, fashion design, history, anthropology, English, and art conservation.
In pursuing the minor you'll sample the University's acclaimed resources in material culture. These include the University Museums, the Paul R. Jones Collection, the Center for Historic Architecture and Design, and the Museum Studies Program on campus and connections to a network of such outstanding cultural institutions in the community as the Winterthur Museum & Country Estate and the Hagley Museum and Library.
Courses in the minor cover the material world from the intimate environments of the home to larger regional landscapes and cities. They also address the international cultural and social contexts that have shaped America from the colonial period to the present.
You'll conduct hands-on research in collections and in the field and learn to document, display, and interpret sites and objects. Qualified students also have the opportunity to complete an internship with a local organization that puts them ahead in their careers.
Throughout your activities in the minor, you'll be engaged with creative and energetic faculty members who are highly regarded internationally for their work in material culture.
Courses & Advising
The minor is flexible, interdisciplinary, and tailored to a student's personal interests. Students will meet frequently with an advisor from the Center for Material Culture Studies to shape the course of study.
The MCST minor requires 18 credit hours and students are required to take the following three core courses for a total of nine credit hours:
- ANTH/MCST/HIST 216 Introduction to Material Culture Studies
- MCST 402 Research and Writing Seminar (prerequisite: MCST 216)
- MCST 464 Internship
In consultation with a faculty advisor from the Center for Material Culture Studies, students will also select three elective courses. (These courses must fall outside the requirements of a student's major and any other minors he or she pursues.) Two courses must be at the 200 level or above; the third, at the 300 level or above. The courses must represent at least two different departments/programs from the following: Anthropology, Art Conservation, Art History, Black American Studies, Fashion and Apparel Studies, English, Geography, History, Museum Studies, Sociology, Women's Studies. All courses included within the minor must be completed with a grade of C- or better.
A checksheet provides an easy way to track progress through the minor.
To learn more about the minor, please email Professor Martin Brückner, firstname.lastname@example.org .
When you minor in MCST, you are eligible to apply for an internship, with a stipend, at a museum or other cultural organization. Internships allow you to:
- See how professionals complete the varied tasks necessary to conserve, display and interpret objects and sites.
- Learn how cultural organizations are organized and administered.
- Develop an ability to identify, assess, and solve on-the-job problems.
- Try out a potential career for yourself in cultural resource management, teaching, or other related fields.
- Build your resume and career portfolio.
The internship is a 3-credit course, subject to regular university registration procedures, tuition, and fees. It entails 140 hours of work. If you want to pursue a longer internship, for example, full time in the summer, you may add credits as appropriate to acknowledge those longer hours. In consultation with the Director of the CMCS, you will secure a position at a suitable host institution. In doing so, you will develop a written proposal for specific tasks to be performed, which must be approved by the Director of CMCS and the supervisor from that institution before the internship can be accepted for credit and for a stipend. During the internship, you will submit periodic reports to the Director of the CMCS, who will also request a report from your supervisor at the mid-point and end of the internship.
To apply for an internship , you must have junior or senior standing, have completed the other two core minor courses, and have a 3.0 GPA in your major.
Your grade in the internship is based on your proposal and other written reports and on the evaluation submitted by your internship site supervisor. The signed proposal is considered a contract with the host organization for the period specified. If the time period is not met, you will forfeit academic credit (where applicable) as well as any financial support from the Center. Withdrawal for medical reasons will be treated at the discretion of the host supervisor in consultation with the CMCS director.
For further information, please visit the Center for Material Culture Studies.