Panel Explores Future of Museum Work

African American Worker Setting Up Paintings In Museum

Students, faculty, and alumni of the CUNY School of Professional Studies (CUNY SPS) MA in museum studies program gathered in August for What’s Next in the World of Museum Work?, a panel discussion about working in cultural institutions in today’s landscape. More than 40 people attended the online talk, which explored how the museum world is changing and what museum workers may expect for the future.

“The museum talk was a thoughtful and forward-looking conversation about the critical issues facing our cultural institutions and those who work in them. We were excited to have four wonderful panelists who have worked in different types of museums in different roles share their own experiences, while touching upon larger concerns within the field and offering advice to our students,” said Jenna Coplin, academic program manager of the CUNY SPS MA in museum studies program. “The discussion opened an enormous box of ideas, and addressed many of the questions raised. We look forward to reopening these conversations and exploring these issues more in the future.”

The talk was moderated by Kat Griefen, a faculty member in the CUNY SPS MA in museum studies program, who led the conversations and Q&As with four featured panelists. These included Jennifer Harley, an artist and educator and the school & community partnerships manager at The Studio Museum in Harlem; Carla Hernandez, the inventory manager and registrar at Lehmann Maupin gallery; Danyelle Means, executive director of the Center for Contemporary Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico; and Alexandra Unthank, education associate at the Lewis Latimer House Museum.

During their presentations, the speakers discussed their individual career arcs, what led to their current roles, and takeaways for museum studies students just starting out in the field. They also offered their thoughts on important topics like labor and pay equity, budgets and funding, and diversity and equality within cultural institutions. 

Following these talks, members of the audience posed questions about a variety of issues, including what changed for the speakers over the past year, how they see the relationships between curators and museum educators evolving, the role of technology and digital media, types of remote work options, and how crises like the COVI9-19 pandemic may inform the re-openings and future of museums.


About the CUNY SPS MA in Museum Studies

The MA in Museum Studies online degree program grounds students in the theory and practical applications of museum operations, including administration, finance, curation, technology, and education. Developed in collaboration with the New-York Historical Society (N-YHS), students gain the knowledge, skills, and preparation necessary to engage in professional museum practice.

About the CUNY School of Professional Studies

For over 15 years, the CUNY School of Professional Studies (CUNY SPS) has been leading online education in New York. Notable for offering the most online bachelor’s and master’s degree options at the City University of New York, and for serving transfer students as the University system’s only undergraduate all-transfer college, CUNY SPS meets the needs of adults who wish to finish a bachelor’s degree, progress from an associate’s degree, earn a master’s degree or certificate in a specialized field, and advance in the workplace or change careers.

The School’s growth has been remarkable, with twenty-four degrees launched since 2006. Enrollment has risen by more than 30% in the last four years to over 4,000 students in the credit-bearing programs. Thousands more are enrolled in non-degree and grant-funded workplace learning programs. In addition, the School has an active alumni network and has established the CUNY SPS Foundation, which offers multiple scholarship opportunities to current students.

CUNY SPS has consistently been named by U.S. News & World Report as one of the country’s top online institutions. This year, the School was ranked in the top 2% in the nation on the publisher’s list of the 2021 Best Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs.

Press Contact
Andrea Fagon
Director of Marketing and Communications