The American Studies graduate program offers a graduate certificate in Museums and Communities. Students may earn a certificate independent of, or as part of, the Master’s degree program. The certificate program can be completed in one year if students take two courses per semester for one year, or in two years if students take one course per semester for two years.

Museums, archives, and the communities they serve have emerged as a major area of interest in the field of American Studies but, more importantly, in the public culture of the United States. A striking example is provided by the huge success of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, which opened to the public on September 24, 2016 in Washington, DC. In its first year, the Museum had attracted nearly 1 million visitors. By 2018, only two years after opening, the number of visitors had reached nearly 5 million. By 2019, the Museum had to change the way it handled visitors, utilizing timed passes for entry in order to provide a safe and pleasant experience.

These details suggest at least two things: first, Americans and visitors to this country have come to see museums not as places for a small cultural elite but as venues of mass entertainment and education. And second, museums need both larger staffs and volunteer corps and a broader understanding of their new roles in a changing cultural environment. The certificate in Museums and Communities within the American Studies Master’s program at Trinity is designed to respond to those changing needs.

The certificate in Museums and Communities consists of four credits:

  • AMST 801, Approaches to American Studies
  • AMST 825, Museums, Visual Culture & Critical Theory
  • One internship: AMST 894, Museums and Communities Internship
  • One elective course

​​Course descriptions are available on the course schedule page​.

Please visit the Graduate Studies Admissions page for more information about applying.  International students studying in the US on a Visa cannot apply to the certificate program as it is not a degree program.

Please Note:  Current Trinity graduate students interested in the graduate certificate program in American Studies should speak with professor Christina Heatherton about applying to the program.