University of Delaware
Office of Public Relations
The Messenger
Vol. 6, No. 1/1996
Getting a businesslike attitude about museums

     A new program this fall at the University of Delaware-the
first of its kind in the United States-offers museum
professionals the opportunity to expand their management skills.
The innovative program, a new concentration in the UD Master of
Business Administration degree program, focuses on museum
leadership and management and certification in museum studies.
     The general climate of museums has changed dramatically in
the last 15-20 years, according to Bryant F. Tolles Jr., director
of the UD's Museum Studies Program. As the country grows ever
more multicultural, museums must follow the pattern and provide
exhibitions and educational presentations that serve their
changing populations. In addition, he says, the institutions face
increasing competition for declining amounts of federal and local
     For these reasons, there is a growing need for museum
professionals who combine appropriate undergraduate study, such
as art history or history, with graduate training in business
management and museology, Tolles said.
     "The traditional route has been to train in academic
traditions, then take continuing education courses. But, today,
people need more formal academic preparation," he said.
     To meet this need, the UD colleges of Business and Economics
and Arts and Science have joined forces for the new
concentration, which creates new options for candidates seeking
career opportunities with museums, historical organizations or
other similar institutions.
     "The MBA provides an in-depth understanding of business
issues and financial concepts that have an impact on the
effective management of museums, historical organizations and
other associated enterprises," Robert B. Barker, director of the
MBA program at the University, said.
     This joint program also provides new learning experiences
for students who are enrolled in the University's MBA and Museum
Studies programs. Current MBA students may, if they wish,
complete the requirements for certification in museum studies.
     Students who are seeking an MBA with a concentration in
museum leadership and management enroll in the standard MBA
courses and also take nine credit hours of their elective
coursework in museum studies. Those who wish to complete their
certification in museum studies must take 12 credit hours,
including the museum internship course, which is normally
completed between the first and second year of study.
     The UD's MBA program, with several options, including full-
and part-time study, currently has an enrollment of some 540
students. Of the approximately 700 schools with MBA programs in
the nation, the University is in the top third, meeting the high
standards of excellence demanded for accreditation.