Top Ten Free Online Courses in Museum Studies in 2022

It’s possible to learn about the museum industry and get valuable experience by taking online courses from universities and other higher-education organizations like museums and art schools. They include organized free online courses in museum studies, as well as more specialized courses in curatorship or conservation.

Museum Studies courses are multidisciplinary, combining art, management, design, history, archaeology, and anthropology. Graduates with a Master’s in Museum Studies may work as museum directors, librarians, exhibit organizers, and archivists.

If museum studies interest you, this article will introduce you to free online courses with certifications. Let’s delve into it.

Top Ten Free Online Courses in Museum Studies

What are Online Museum Studies?

The United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) define museum studies as the theoretical study of museum activities, embracing the history and evolution of museums, infrastructural structure, and museum management.

Theoretically, curators pick which pieces to present to the public depending on the information they contain or portray. More so, curators, like archivists, directors, and archaeologists, construct an experience based on their interpretation of history. Some ideas exist for displaying art and objects. For example, an ICOFOM Study Series article argues the building of modern museum philosophy on “colonial power structures.” Still, the problem is that non-colonial cultural practices receive little or no attention.

Meanwhile, new technology, preservation efforts, and greater archaeological site accessibility are challenging this notion. Professionals in this profession may want to rethink how they choose to work for the public. Ecomuseums, or museums that focus on underwater artifacts, could help keep civilizations alive and teach people about the world.

Curators must tread carefully when recounting politically sensitive tales like those regarding slavery or colonialism. Museum personnel is bound by a code of ethics that prohibits them from exhibiting goods acquired via illicit trading or misrepresenting cultural importance. Observing this regulation helps museums conserve and disseminate history lawfully.

More About Museum Studies.

Museum studies focus on their social, cultural, and political contexts. And Governmental policies on cultural resource management may learn a lot from innovations in the fields of administration, marketing, and education found in museum studies. Many different academic fields are part of the field of museum studies, like art history and anthropology. People from different cultures and backgrounds also play a big role in the field.

Furthermore, museum studies span a wide range of topics, such as museum exhibit content production as well as marketing for museums and galleries.

Generally, museum studies seek to teach the theoretical and practical skills necessary to run a museum. Also, students will have a better understanding of social and cultural trends as well as information and library science as a whole. A museologist has a broad cultural background that enables them to integrate art, history, and technology. Students will also learn to think critically and with an aesthetic eye.

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Top Ten Free Online Courses in Museum Studies with Certificates.

1. Contemporary Museum Education

This course introduces students to the rapidly expanding area of modern museum teaching. It looks at how museums have changed over time, as well as how museums think about learning and interpretation in a unique way.

The training includes substantial hands-on practice in teaching with artworks and producing educational materials, projects, programs, and unique learning experiences in art and design museums. Topics like audience diversity, school and community engagement, rethinking museum goals and procedures, as well as the field’s potential for innovation and avant-garde practice are also discussed.

For More details and enrollment, click here.

2. Tangible Things: Discovering History Through Artworks, Artifacts, Scientific Specimens, and the Stuff Around You.

Interested in how museums, libraries, and other historical or scientific collections come together? In this online museum studies course, you’ll learn how tangible things have molded academic fields and influenced social boundaries. The course will show how physical objects can be used to help people learn. It will feature some of the most interesting things in Harvard’s collection.

In addition to books and manuscripts, there are art pieces, scientific specimens, anthropological objects, and historical relics of all kinds that may be explored by “stepping onto” the storied site. The art museums care for silver-encrusted coconut cups as well as Renaissance masterpieces. The Natural History Museum has dinosaur bones and a fish robot, but also a century-old Mexican tortilla.

For More details and enrollment, click here.

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3. Managing Museums in the 21st Century, a My Armenia Program series

In this online museum studies course, you will learn a lot about running a museum, from the ground up. This course does not deliver a comprehensive guide on running a museum. However, it teaches a collection of thoughts and ideas from a variety of Smithsonian staff members.

Furthermore, as one of the free online courses in museum studies, it takes into account the many methods museums utilize to draw in and hold on to their online and in-person visitors. In addition, museums must think outside the box when it comes to raising money. Also, a museum is continually evolving, and the pace of change has quickened in recent years as more material has been generated, people’s schedules have been more constrained, expectations for visitors have altered, and new approaches to museum exhibits and programming have emerged. Obviously, this is a common misunderstanding.

For More details and enrollment, click here.

4. Modern Art & Ideas

Anyone interested in learning more about modern and contemporary art would benefit from this online museum studies course. This is because the course covers a wide range of topics. More so, they include Art and Identity, Repurposing Ordinary Things, and Transforming Art and Society. In the first video of each week, the course covers works of art from the Museum of Modern Art’s collections in relation to the weekly topic of discussion. Audio interviews with artists, designers, and curators are in the supplementary readings and resources. You can also get more information about specific pieces from the audio files.

In this course, you’ll learn how artists work:

  • Portray a specific location and draw inspiration from its surroundings,
  • Create artworks for the expression, investigation, and challenge of one’s identity.
  • By using common materials, challenge preconceptions about what makes a piece of art and how it should be constructed.
  • Create works of art that address contemporary social, cultural, and political themes.

You will also have the chance to talk with other students and find out how these topics apply to you in your own life and experience. This is possible through the discussion forum questions and the peer review assignment, which will help you do that.

Click here to enroll for the course.

5. Arch of Titus: Rome and the Menorah

From Roman, Jewish, and Christian viewpoints, this online museum course examines the most important Roman monument to survive from antiquity. The emperor Titus’s devastation of Jerusalem in 70 CE is commemorated by the Arch of Titus, a landmark event in Roman history, Jewish history, Christian history, and contemporary nationalism.

As you work with Professor Steven Fine, an expert on this online museum studies course, to investigate ancient manuscripts and relics, you’ll gain knowledge and experience as a historian. Likewise, in Los Angeles and New York, students will join Professor Fine on virtual “field trips” to museums and historical locations to meet curators, historians, and artists. More so, an academic colloquium and office hours are part of the deal. Hence, it’s time for students to get their hands dirty and help restore the arch’s original hues. After that, you’ll use what you’ve learned about Roman art and color to make your own version of the Arch of Titus menorah relief.

Click here to enroll for the course.

6. The Museum as a Site and Source for Learning

If you want to get the most out of your time spent at museums, you should take this online museum studies course. Ultimately, you’ll examine how museum artifacts may help us better understand the past. Also, you’ll learn how museums can employ artifacts to better engage students. In addition, you’ll look at how museums might make greater use of their physical spaces to enhance the educational opportunities available to all visitors.

This online museum course will run even in the educators’ absence. However, there are possibilities for interaction with other students throughout the course.

Enroll in the course here.

7. Behind the Scenes at the 21st Century Museum

What role do museums play in our lives today? For what purposes do museums exist? When we visit museums, how do we feel about the exhibits and spaces? Do museums contribute to the quest for social justice, human rights, or good health?

In this course, you’ll examine these concerns via a wide variety of inspiring case studies and thought-provoking concepts. For more than half a century, the University of Leicester and the National Museums of Liverpool have been pioneers in the field of museum studies, and now you may study with them.

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More so, anyone with an interest in museums is welcome to take this course. You might be a current or aspiring student, a museum volunteer, as well as a museum practitioner interested in learning more about museum studies training. Hence, there is no need for any previous expertise or equipment.

Enroll in the course here.

8. Dead Interesting: Uncovering Roman Britain in Old Museum Collections

This two-week course will provide you with an introduction to osteoarcheology. And it is the study of ancient bones using methodologies, techniques, and theories that have been developed through time. 

Also. you’ll explore the shops that house the Romano-British treasures with a museum professional and an osteologist as they take you behind the scenes of the museum.

Enroll in the course here.

9. From World War to White Heat: the RAF in the Cold War

This is one of the free online courses in museum studies. It is a cooperation between the RAF Museums and the Royal Holloway, University of London, Department of History. The course will undoubtedly expose you to important turning events in post-war British history.

The course will cover the following key findings:

  • The RAF’s early Cold War involvement.
  • In a period of decolonization, the RAF’s global operations.
  • It is the choice of the United Kingdom to build a nuclear deterrent.
  • Creation of the V-Force, the RAF’s capacity to conduct strategic nuclear weapons.
  • The RAF’s responsibility in protecting British airspace.

There are several ways in which you may learn more about the RAF’s legacy, including its museums at Hendon (in north London) and Cosford (in south Staffordshire), as well as the National Cold War Exhibition and memorials erected after 1945.

Furthermore, material from the archives of the RAF Museum is used extensively in this course, which was shot on location at RAF Museum Hendon and Cosford in London.

Click here to enroll in this course.

10. Extinctions: Past and Present

Here, you learn how five great extinction events have influenced life on Earth in this free online course in museum studies. The reason is that a sixth extinction catastrophe might occur now if current trends continue.

More so, scientific debates about our planet’s biodiversity are held on a weekly basis with experts who explain how their studies help us better understand our planet’s history, from the earliest living forms to fish diversification.

Furthermore, the five prior major extinctions that have affected our planet’s biodiversity are examined in depth in this course. Fossil evidence shows that many species went extinct during these major extinctions. This meant that the remaining biota had new chances to diversify.

Click here to enroll in the course.

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Careers in Museum Studies.

The International Council of Museums (ICOM) estimates 55,000 museums globally. Hence, each museum hires a trained team to present its collection to the public. According to the American Historical Association, these professions usually have a graduate degree (AHA). Listed below are a few employment opportunities for museum studies majors.

1. Curator.

Curators plan and gather museum exhibits. More so, writing financing applications, obtaining items from other museums, or preparing items for the show might be their responsibilities. Curators may go to other museums to evaluate collections or present them on their own.

The BLS predicts a 10% employment growth rate for curators between 2018 and 2028. Since most candidates have advanced degrees, the BLS encourages applicants to volunteer or intern. The BLS stated that curators made $53,780 in 2018.

2. Archivist.

Archivists assist curators in maintaining, organizing, and safeguarding the museum’s collection. Hence, a master’s in history may assist future archivists to prepare for the job’s intellectual and technical needs. Furthermore, archivists utilize a precise cataloging system to help other workers and researchers find materials fast. The Archives must record and digitize new documents as they arrive. Certainly, a history degree might assist an archivist in arranging things for research projects or museum collections.

Archivists made $52,240 on average in 2018. Some smaller museums combine the archivist and curator roles. The BLS predicts a 9% increase in archivist demand between 2018 and 2028.

3. Administrator.

Museum directors are in charge of organizing employees, establishing annual budgets, and negotiating new goods. Additionally, they may organize and attend fundraisers to promote the museum and raise funds for future initiatives. Directors usually specialize in a field such as ancient art or early human history.

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According to September 2019 PayScale statistics, the typical museum director’s income is $47,099.

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Preparation for Free Online Museum Studies Courses.

Aspiring museum studies professionals require knowledge and abilities to operate in this changing sector. A graduate degree in history, such as Norwich University’s online Master of Arts in History, may help professionals develop these skills. Students at Norwich University learn about history from a unique viewpoint. The Public History focus includes the following courses:

a) An Introduction to Public History

This course covers preservation, records management, digitalization, as well as grant writing. To secure grant funds or identify collection objects, students should solve hard challenges. Certainly, aspiring museum staff may learn skills like technical writing, which are essential to documenting collection objects and writing funding applications.

b) Museology Studies

A museum must prepare a collection piece before displaying it to the public. Hence, this course builds on the skills learned in Introduction to Public History to construct emotive and ethical displays. These activities include studying and interpreting new things, telling other people what they learned, and showing new artifacts to the public.

c) Archival Studies.

Here, students learn to identify and care for important archive resources. They may also learn how to file and preserve these materials for scholars, museum employees, and the public. However, students learn how to keep adding to an archive with things that are important to the history of the world.

Who should apply for Online Museum Studies Course?

Online Museum Studies courses attract students who have an interest in museums and charitable organizations. As a result, they have a great desire to link museums and other cultural institutions with a wide range of audiences, external stakeholders, and partners via the utilization of collaborative efforts. Students may choose to study education, public programming, marketing, development, or tourist services as their primary areas of study. In order to build skills that can be used in many different fields, students focus on things like audience research, collaborative work, and chances to practice professional communication and writing skills.


Museology is an interdisciplinary field that brings together the study of art, history, sociology, anthropology, and other humanities to promote the educational and social value that museums provide to people all over the globe. University-level students who understand and respect the goal of museum curation might choose to work in this field, which consequently has a unique relationship between education and tourism.

These abilities may be used in any museum, and students learn how to think critically about their own professional practice and the research process. Ultimately, the program’s major goal is to equip students with a thorough grasp of museum methods for collecting and preserving artifacts, as well as methods for communicating with the general public and interpreting, presenting, and preserving museum collections.

FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions about Free Online Courses in Museum Studies

What Universities offer programs in museum studies?

University of the Arts, The State University Of New York, College At Oneonta, University of North Carolina, Greensboro University of Tulsa, Virginia Commonwealth University, College of New Rochelle, Newcastle University, Arizona State University, Royal College of Art, Morgan State University, and more.

What can I do with a degree in Museum Studies?

You may work as a museum registrar, curator, director, archivist, or cultural heritage information professional with a Museum Studies degree. A concentration in Museum Studies can be changed to meet the needs of the museum industry.

Are there Cross Enrollment opportunities?

Yes, the Museum Studies Program and the Arts and Administration Program at UNO cross-enroll. Our students may take courses from other colleges or universities to satisfy degree requirements. So long as they complete the program criteria, Southern University of New Orleans accepts them.

Will students get hands-on opportunities?

Yes. The Museum Studies Program offers classes at various museums in the city.


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