The Master of Museum Studies (MMSt) Program

The MMSt is a creative, dynamic, multidisciplinary, global, exciting, forward-thinking, professional program with the right balance between theoretical knowledge, practical learning and integrated research.  We train future museum professionals to be prepared for global museological environments in constant change.  We do so by teaching our students how to think critically, to trouble mainstream museological practices and to be sensitive to contemporary multicultural communities.  Along the way, we organize exhibitions on topics ranging from steampunk to sugar, we plan trips to exciting cities such as Montreal and Washington DC, we visit museums and heritage sites in Toronto and chat with curators, educators and other museum professionals.  We even find time to get together over a glass of wine or a cup of hot chocolate! Why would you not want to be part of our community?


Unviersity of Toronto's Master of Museum Studies Program Timeline


From its earliest years, the Master of Museum Studies at the University of Toronto has embraced a multidisciplinary professionalized approach to merging applied skills with academic study.

In the early days of the program, a typical student in Museology was also required to be a student of another faculty in the School of Graduate Studies. The same student spent fifteen months in the program, attending museology classes alongside his/her chosen graduate courses, completing a practicum, and writing a final paper that connected his/her museology training with his/her other academic focus. 

An academically rigorous program of study was a chief concern of its organizers from the time the program was proposed by Dr. L.S. Russell in an editorial in the October 1953 Bulletin of the Canadian Museum Association. Russell, the Curator of Vertebrate Palaeontology at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) suggested that the apprenticeship model of training be replaced with a course of formal study in a university or college setting, with practical training and museology lectures based in an affiliated large museum or gallery. The ROM obliged and, in 1969, a joint venture between the museum and the University of Toronto began: the Master of Museology Graduate Program.


It took over ten years for university governing bodies to recognize the academic weight of the museological component of the program and finally allow students to take only museology courses. The final project--a research paper--endures today as the Thesis option of the program. Although no longer affiliated with the ROM, the program continues to value the practical training that this association provided. Today, a student has the option of completing an internship in a museum of her choice in the summer between her first and second years of study.

Starting in 1977, the program underwent a series of reviews, resulting in the administrative relocation of the program into the university. The physical site of the program has changed over the years as a result. Starting out on the second floor of the ROM among working museum professionals, classes moved into a series of spaces on campus. 


The current home of the program in the Claude T. Bissell building in the iSchool is the result of a 2004 decision to include the Master of Museum Studies with the Faculty of Information Studies (currently the iSchool). Museums, archives, and libraries are interrelated, and students from all fields have similar commitments towards the preservation of culture, heritage, and knowledge. The integration of the programs reflects this closeness.

You can visit the Faculty of Information's website by clicking here to access information about how to apply, courses, potential careers, student profiles, and more!