Minor Requirements

To earn a minor in Museums, Cultural Heritage, and Preservation, students are required to complete a total of at least six courses (18 credit hours): one core course (3 credits), two electives in the field of Museums or Preservation, two electives in Cultural Heritage (totaling 12 credits), and one practicum (3 credits).  A minimum of three courses must be at the 300 or 400 level. With the exception of the core course, no more than two courses from the same department or cross-listed with that department can be counted towards the minor.  No more than three of the courses used to fulfill these minor requirements may be used to fulfill another minor or major requirement.  AP credits cannot be applied to the minor.  A maximum of 6 transfer credits can count toward the minor and must be approved by the faculty director of the minor.

We maintain a list of currently-available courses, and a more extensive list of approved courses that will run in the future.

Core Course: Museums and Heritage, ANTH 341/HURC 341

This course is co-taught annually by an Anthropology faculty member (Susan McIntosh or Jeffrey Fleisher) and a Humanities faculty member (John Hopkins or Kerry Ward), or another faculty member approved by the steering committee. Guest lecturers are scheduled from museum and cultural institutions in Houston and around the country. As a seminar capped at 19, the course promotes discussion-based, active learning on the part of students. The content of the course will remain consistent each year and will address the following approaches to cultural heritage: the importance and definitions of cultural heritage studies; human effects on cultural heritage (war, looting, globalization, unintended effects); the laws and ethics of (tangible and intangible) cultural heritage protection; conservation and preservation of cultural heritage; the storage, safeguarding, display and study of cultural heritage artifacts in museums, libraries and other cultural institutions.

The core course may be taken at any time during the student’s education, but it must be completed before the practicum so that the student is familiar with the discipline as a whole and the applicability of the practicum. (Students whose prior coursework counts toward the minor will be grandfathered in to take the core course after the practicum for the first year of the program.)

Electives

Four Electives (12 credit hours) in the fields of Museums and Cultural Heritage. Only two electives (six credit hours) from the same department or subject code or with cross-listings in the same subject code can be counted toward the minor. The list of acceptable elective courses is reviewed annually and subject to amendment by the steering committee.

Practica

The practica will introduce students to the field directly, promoting an engaged and active learning environment while fostering connections in the fields of museum work, preservation and cultural heritage.  Students will have three options for completing this requirement.  All practica should be taken through established courses or independent study at the 300 or 400 level and must focus on active participation on the part of students in the mission of the project or institution, with meaningful pedagogical or research outcomes for the student; the chief duties of a student in a practicum cannot be clerical.

  1. Established application-based internships at area museums and cultural institutions.  The Department of Art History has established internships at the Menil Collection, the various departments in the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and Asia Society of Houston.  Rice University also has an established internship with Bayou Bend and the School of Humanities has a new Arts and Culture Internship.  These are all competitive year-long internships open to students across campus. These opportunities will allow students to work closely with curators and other staff, participating in research, installation, exhibition design, collection management, conservation activities, registration and object management, and collection and exhibition curatorial work. Students may apply for these established competitive fellowships by contacting the appropriate department. Additionally, the Departments of Art History and Anthropology have close ties with these museums and the Houston Museum of Natural Science, among other institutions.  At the request of a student, a Rice faculty member can work with a colleague at a museum (the “museum mentor”) to evaluate candidates for ad-hoc internships.  Such internships must be approved by a Rice faculty mentor and the minor advisor. Once accepted for an internship through an established program or through ad-hoc liaisons, students will work directly with the staff at the museum on their work, consulting periodically with the faculty mentor and/or minor advisor.  They will present the results of their work at the end of the semester in the HRC public forum or at the Rice Undergraduate Research Symposium. The museum mentor will consult with the Rice faculty mentor on the grade at the end of the semester.
  2. Established internships and practica through the Humanities Research Center (including those affiliated with Fondren Library’s Woodson Research Center), Center for Civic Leadership, and other Rice programs.  These research practica are meant for students who want to divide their work between on-site internship and academic research.  Established practica exist at the HRC, CCL and elsewhere on campus at a range of institutions, including the Buffalo Soldier Museum, Houston Children’s Museum, Houston Public Library, and Preservation Houston.  Students work 5-10 hours/week on site with archivists, center directors, and practitioners to develop projects in specific research areas. Students engaged in practica at Fondren work directly with the rare book collections, manuscripts, performance recordings, oral history projects, and other new and ongoing cultural heritage documentation projects with library staff. Students learn to apply their humanistic training to the needs of the institution or program where they intern, overseen by faculty in the HRC or other affiliated centers or departments. Through paired readings, they interrogate their practical work throughout the semester.  These practica will culminate in an end-of-semester symposium in which students present their research to the public along with others working in cultural heritage practica and internships in the HRC public forum, and/or the Rice Undergraduate Research Symposium (RURS).
  3. Faculty-directed initiatives. Rice Faculty who have ongoing cultural heritage projects may also oversee students directly in practica. Such projects include the Collections Analysis Collaborative (with the Menil Collection), the Houston Asian-American Archive, imagineRio, the Songo Mnara excavations, and the Travelers in the Middle East Archive. These may be ongoing projects, or occasional projects; they may require individual research and experience or teamwork, like the OEDK’s collaboration on object management at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.  Students must approach a Rice faculty member with a cultural heritage project in the semester before the practicum is to take place to determine the needs and expectations and gain approval from the faculty member and the minor advisor.  The content and structure of the practicum is largely up to the faculty member and student in consultation, but must foreground a student’s pedagogical or research involvement in a cultural heritage project. The student must be engaged in work for 120 hours over the course of the semester and must be integrated into the project’s administration or team. Students will be expected to consult regularly with their practicum mentor and will present their work at the end of the semester in the HRC public forum or RURS.