Column Descriptions


A MUSE BOUCHE (est. May 2016)

Current writer: Natalie Scola
Past writers:
 Lindsay ChisholmDominica TangJordan FeeAlexandra ForandJennifer LeeErika Robertson
In order to conserve their collections, most museum galleries begin with a sign prohibiting food or drink. For most of the history of museums, food and collections have been at odds. While museums tend to collect objects to tell enduring stories, food is so temporary and common it can be overlooked. However, the emerging field of food studies is making inroads into museum studies and once you start seeing through food-oriented lenses, the evidence is everywhere. This column will explore the surprising intersections of food and museums through cafes, exhibitions, and artifacts.


Past writers: Kendra CampbellAnnissa Malvoisin, Blair Newby
Traditionally, the African Canadian History column has largely focused on museums, events and individuals in early Canadian history. However, it lacked the important aspect of history as constantly ongoing - making contemporary museums, events and individuals a remarkable part of Canadian history. This column's refreshed focus emphasizes these instances by remaining relevant while addressing historical Black stories in Canada, and how the editor muses upon its relation to current museums, arts and culture.

ALUMNI CHECK-IN (est. October 2016)

As the title suggests, this column will be checking in with MMSt alumni to see where they are today. Musings' contributors will be speaking to alumni from the beginning of the program all the way up to as recently as last year. Since the program's alumni are spread across North America and the world, this column will also help to reconnect distant alumni to the Faculty of Information and current MMSt students. Alumni Check-In will feature interviews with MMSt graduates, "where are they now?" segments, and information for current students about post-grad career options.

BEYOND TRADITION (est. September 2017) 

Current writer: Sarah Cozzarin
What do you define as a museum? Beyond Tradition explores the museum practices that influence, inspire and impact the works of institutions beyond traditional history museums and art galleries. This column provides a home for discussions surrounding the works of science centres, aquariums, zoos, national parks, archaeological sites, and much more! What museum theories and practices do these institutions showcase and what can more traditional museums learn from their practice?

BREAKING THE GLASS CASE (est. January 2019) 

Current writer: Megan Mahon
Recent publications, such as the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (2007) and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Calls to Action (2015), ask cultural heritage organizations to participate in national reconciliation and public education. These actions join the long history of indigenous peoples requests to redefine their place in cultural heritage organizations. This column is dedicated to exploring the history, development, and relationships between indigenous individuals, communities, and cultural heritage organizations. 


Current writer: Kara Annett
Past writers:
Martin BierensJaime MeierCarly HallNatania ShermanJennifer MaxwellKatie Paolozza
At the heart of any great museum, library, or archive is its collection. Musings’ Collections Corner column explores the many unique and diverse collections in cultural institutions around the world, while delving into the significance of objects and their stories. This column covers a wide range of topics and themes, including the stories our collections tell, debates over historical artefacts, and how our collections are kept safe. As well, Collections Corner introduces readers to the adventurous and sometimes chaotic world of collections management.

COLOUR THE CANVAS (est. November 2021)

Current writer: Jingshu Yao


Past writers: Selin KahramanogluJulie DaechselKristen McLaughlinMadeline Smolarz, Nikita Johnston
Conservation Tips & Tricks explores the world of collections conservation, from examining individual object treatments, to the potential challenges of specific collections, to useful resources, tools, and everyday best practices. Combining case studies with insider tricks and insights, Tips & Tricks draws on examples and cases from a range of institutions. The column aims to showcase the exciting and often challenging nature of museum conservation.

EXHIBITION REVIEWS (est. February 2014)

Current writer: Rachel Deiterding
Past writers:
Madison Carmichael
Mary WallaceMaddy Howard, Kesang NangluSadie MacDonaldJulia ZungriTabitha ChanStephanie Read, Mallory Horrill, Meaghan Dalby, Katie Wilson, Brittney Sproule, Madeline Smolarz
Exhibition Reviews wants you to put on your museum hat, get out to a museum near you, and see some excellent exhibitions! This column offers reviews of various carefully-selected exhibitions to get readers to think critically about what they are looking at when they enter a museum. The reviews raise questions about upcoming, current, or past exhibitions of particular note-worthiness to the writer and museum professionals more broadly. Exhibition Reviews include looking at the ways in which knowledge / stories are presented to the public, focusing on the facets of museology and display that together help shape exhibitions that are truly worth visiting. In the past, museum exhibitions across Ontario and elsewhere in the world (ex. London, England) have been selected for review, and reviews often take different shapes and forms in order to both educate and entertain.


Current writer: Caitlin McCurdy
At the end of the MMSt program, students are able to choose between writing a thesis or an exhibition. A significant amount of work is put into both types of projects and this column highlights the exciting and innovative work being accomplished by MMSt students. Through interviews, (column name) explores the triumphs and challenges experienced by students while completing their final projects.

(FUN)DRAISING (est. September 2016)

As Emerging Museum Professionals (EMPs), we are becoming increasingly aware that one of the greatest challenges museums face today is fundraising. This column is intended to bring to your attention the multi-faceted and innovative efforts the sector is making to meet needs, make budget, and (hopefully) create fun programming and events!

GHOSTS OF TORONTO'S PAST (est. June 2017) 

Past writer: Carys OwensRebecca BarettKatie Paolozza
This column explores the evolution of Toronto by taking a look at parts of the city that have disappeared or evolved significantly over time. Drawing upon archival material, we investigate landmarks, neighbourhoods, historic buildings, and major cultural events of the past by comparing them to their contemporary counterparts. Our goal is to deconstruct the bittersweet notion of progress by acknowledging what has been lost to the ages. By questioning the process of urban change and its inevitability, we hope to gain further insight into our great city's complex history and understand how the ghosts of the past can still impact the future.

GLAM Guide (est. September 2018)

Past writer: Madison CarmichaelEvelyn Feldman
Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums (GLAMs) are closely aligned, but distinct cultural institutions that provide their communities unique forms of access to knowledge. What can these institutions learn from each other? What exciting, innovative collaborations are happening between them? Where are museums doing "library-like" things? Where are libraries doing "gallery-like" things? And more importantly– why do these crossovers occur and what do they mean? This column explores the many interesting intersections between these wonderful cultural institutions!

GLAM GETS MINDFUL (est. January 2019)

Past writer: Melissa Mertsis
Cultural heritage institutions have been experimenting with how to best promote social, mental, and physical wellbeing in a variety of ways. This column focuses on how the GLAM (gallery, library, archives, and museum) sector integrates wellness - whether through programming, exhibitions, or personal experiences - and how this affects both patrons and museum staff. GLAM Gets Mindful will create an open space for honest conversation about mental health, wellbeing, and mindfulness.

HERITAGE MOMENTS (est. May 2016)

Current writer: Annabelle Kolomeisky
Past writers: Madison CarmichaelJingshu YaoCarly WolowichSelin Kahramanoglu, Jocelyn KentConnor KurtzEleanor Howell
Though heritage may be the legacy of past cultures, places and landscapes, it is very much alive. It shapes how we understand who we are and prompts celebration and contestation. Bringing together ideas from a broad scope of disciplines – including art, architecture, archaeology, history, anthropology, geography, and urban planning – Heritage Moments considers how traces of the past are used today and preserved for tomorrow.

Please note that this column is reserved for the summer months when MMSt internships occur.
Master of Museum Studies (MMSt) students have the option to complete an internship in the summer between their first and second years of study in the program. The first portion of their experience is spent in the classroom learning about how to make the most of their internship, and the second is spent in a host institution for at least three months over the summer (May – August). The internship is an incredibly exciting opportunity for students to explore an area they are interested in pursuing career-wise in the museum field. Past experiences have taken interns all over Canada and the world to various institutions: New York and London, England are two recent locations our students have enjoyed! Our Internship Check-In column highlights perspectives from interns while they are on the job to promote a culture of knowledge-sharing and peer support during the summer for MMSt students.


Past writers: Sara FontesJessica LanzinerKeelan CashmoreHannah MonkmanCassy KistKelly MacKenzieJaime Clifton-Ross, Jenny Ford
The museum world is ever-changing. From new technology to social issues, museums must be nimble in their cultural milieu. But what does it actually mean to be an innovative museum? Musings’ Museum Innovations column explores institutional practices and initiatives that are making waves, taking readers to collections storerooms, cutting-edge exhibitions, city streets, and even cyberspace. Using case studies and examining broader emerging trends, the column has its finger of the pulse of what’s happening in the museum world - and the issues you need to watch out for.

MUSEUM MONDAYS (est. January 2014)

Past writers: Katlyn WooderMaeghan JerryKara IsozakiEmma HoffmanMadeline Smolarz, Alexandra Jeffrey, Cady McLaughlin, Brittney Sproule, Maya Donkers
There is no better start to the week than reading about the many curiosities of museums. Writing about galleries, science centres, public art events, speaker series, and everything else related to the arts, culture, or heritage sectors is what makes the Museum Mondays blog unique. Nearly anything, anywhere can be related back to a museum. The key is to find the connection that allows readers to explore, question, and understand, the endless number of relationships that create the museum, as we know it.

MUSEUM MYSTERIES (est. September 2014)

Current writer: Jefimija Vujcic
Past writers:
 Jaime Meier
Serena YpelaarChristopher WaiMadeline Smolarz
Museums learn about and share stories of all kinds relating to the world around us, but they aren't always clear. Questions come up all the time, whether they are from academics, descendant communities or curious members of the public. Sometimes there is no frame of reference, other times, there is a partial picture preserved and yet other times heritage is lost, stolen, or even destroyed. In many cases, there are things that are simply overlooked completely in a blind spot away from our preconceived expectations. This column tries to present, record and encourage questions about the mysteries we might find relating to museums so that we can try to see the stories of objects, peoples and/or places differently.

MUSEUMS ON EARTH (est. January 2018)

Past writers: Defne InceogluJordan FeeLana Tran
Recognizing museums as non-neutral entities, this column questions the current direction of museums in the environmental crisis. Drawing from both local and international themes and case studies, the developing role of cultural institutions are considered in interdisciplinary contexts: art, policy and politics, colonial histories, natural heritage conservation, scientific innovation, economic motivation, activist movements and socially-engaged practice are all valid realms from which museums are not exempt. We seek to question how these realms influence museum reactivity to socio-environmental issues – ultimately, are museums relevant in a changing world?

MUSE NEWS (est. May 2018)

Current writer: Avigayil Margolis
Past writers:
 Michelle WrightAmy Intrator
Museums are constantly making headlines worldwide. From new museum directors, to museum openings, to scandals at the museum, there is no shortage of museum news. Musings’ Muse News column brings some of the biggest museum news stories to the spotlight. This column aims to analyze museum news worldwide in the context of critical issues in museum studies.

MUSINGS ABROAD (est. September 2016)

Current writer: Molly Gosewich
Past writers:
 Jingshu YaoChloĆ© HoudeKristen McLaughlinStephanie Read
What is happening in museums across the globe? This column presents topics regarding international museums and cultural institutions as experienced and/or researched by Museum Studies students. Posts will explore themes such as programming and exhibitions, design, interpretation and technology, safety and conservation issues, accessibility, and the visitor experience. Readers will be able to gain more knowledge of museum offerings abroad as they relate to current museological issues.

What would museums be without objects? Musings Contributing Editors explore the origins and significance of a different object or group of related objects through this column. Museum objects can be defined quite broadly, from pieces of art, digital media, plants, and even buildings! Past objects have included a designer's family home, a speculative dinosauroid, taxidermy tableaux... even a 3D-printed gun.

PROGRAM REVIEWS (est. May 2018)

Who says that exhibitions are the only things that need reviewing? Museums are constantly presenting events for the public outside of permanent collections and special exhibitions. Program Reviews will look at how museums are engaging the public! This column offers reviews of various carefully-selected programs to get readers to think critically about how museums create events for communities. Programs include (but are not limited to): lectures, panels, museum parties, workshops, tours, collaborations, etc. Program Reviews will explore how museums engage their audiences beyond traditional exhibition formats, and the various ways museums bring people through the door. How do we balance museums’ core mandates with community involvement? How do museums stay relevant to returning audiences and non-museum goers?

RESEARCH COLUMN (est. May 2014)

Current writer: Avigayil Margolis
Past writers: 
Brooke DowneyCasarina Hocevar, Serena YpelaarLana Tran, Jennifer LeeJanine Zylstra, Robin Nelson, Emily Meikle
The Research Column is a space to try out new ideas and showcase the range of work being done by students in the University of Toronto’s Master of Museum Studies program. Posts in this column include updates on thesis projects, exhibition projects, and adaptations of independent research; less formal posts about the process of conducting research; and more recently, iSchool students' analysis of museological theory. The Research Column welcomes proposals from any and all inquiring minds within the program. To submit a proposal or to learn more about writing for the column, click on the "CONTACT" tab at the top of the page and send us an email!
Sew What explores how fashion and textile history intersect with the museum world. Our lives are saturated in this history; we consume it through the lens of film and television, the stage, historic and contemporary art, lavish accounts and depictions of historical and contemporary dress, and of course, museum collections and interpretive materials.

SHE'S MY MUSE (est. October 2016)

Curent Writer: Neshan Tung
Past writers: Jaime MeierJoanna WreakesSamantha SummersKathleen LewNatania Sherman
This column is dedicated to women in museums. Women, defined in the most inclusive sense of the word (womyn, transwomen, women of colour, women in the LGBTQ2A community), have always figured in museums as subjects, employees, volunteers, curators, and founders. This Column will celebrate the amazing stories of women in museums. So read on and let us introduce our museum muses.

TECHNOLOGY TUESDAYS (est. October 2014)

Past writers: Val MastersOrvis Starkweather, Jenny Ford, Madeline Smolarz, Stephanie Read, Natania Sherman
Technology Tuesdays explores interesting and innovative approaches museums are leveraging to engage their audiences. What is technology? We have adopted a broad approach, defining technology as anything invented by humans to make tasks easier. Most of the blog entries examine digital initiatives, with a focus on web and mobile platforms. The column is an opportunity to learn from projects developed for museums and try out the technology for ourselves.


Past writers: Jaime Meier, Museum Professionals of Colour, Emma PuddicombeLaetitia Dandavino-TardifAurora CacioppoEmma Hoffman, Jenny Ford
Please note that this column only appears during the summer months with prospective MMSt students in mind.
This popular summer column targets incoming first year MMSt students, or anyone interested in pursuing graduate studies in the museum field for that matter! Think of it as a tips column for new grad students. Writers give insights into the world of grad school – sometimes with special reference to the MMSt program and the University of Toronto – by dispelling many of the myths and concerns people may have in mind when thinking about graduate studies and giving valuable advice for navigating some of the trickier parts of entering museum studies. Since this column is reserved for the summer months (May – September), the writers who produce it are former first year students transitioning into their second year of study, so they have plenty of experience to draw upon and share to help interested readers.

THROWBACK THURSDAY (est. October 2014)*

Past writers: Emma PuddicombeCasarina HocevarLeore ZechariaSerena YpelaarJessica SvenningsonMallory Horrill, Jaime Clifton-RossJocelyn Kent, Kate Seally
This column is all about reminiscing and recalling the past, and often the past as it connects to museums. Writers strive to introduce their readers to new ideas, hidden histories, or entertaining historical nuggets. Since “the past” can be as recent as last week, the options for topics that this column can explore are endless! Columns containing listicles, unknown facts about history, and new takes on well-known events are par for the course.
* For Summer 2018 this column has been temporarily renamed "FLASHBACK FRIDAY"

WALK OF FAME (est. January 2014)

Curent Writer: Annabelle Kolomeisky
Past writers: Martin BierensSerena YpelaarJulia ZungriMadeline Smolarz, Kathryn Methot, Mallory Horrill, Jaime Clifton-RossAmanda Barbosa
The Walk of Fame column looks at individuals (but is not limited to just human beings) that have anything to do with museums, galleries, or heritage sites. Whoever is spotlighted might have worked at a museum, been an important political leader that was recently featured in an exhibition, a famous artist, or a former owner of a house-now-turned into a historic site... the list goes on. The column looks at their biography, their significance, and any other important or interesting facts.

WEEKEND EDITION (est. January 2015)

Past writers: Natalie Heaton, Serena Ypelaar, Emily WelshAnya BakerNatania ShermanMadeline Smolarz, Leah Moncada, Jaime Clifton-Ross 
Please note that this is an infrequent column that is not included in Musings' regular schedule.
We’ll be honest… Weekend Edition is reserved for when something doesn’t fit into the weekly Monday – Friday content schedule or anywhere else. However, this columns presents a unique chance for non-contributors to be featured (please click “CONTACT” at the top of this page if you would like to send us an email about that) as well as provide extra bonus content for readers to enjoy over the weekend.


Past writers: Laetitia Dandavino-TardifKelly ManikothEmily WelshNatania ShermanKate SeallyJennifer Maxwell, Cameron Crawley, Lauren Williams, Jaime Clifton-Ross
Contributing editors who compile the What's Happening Wednesday column collect a variety of events of interest to prospective, current, and former students of the MMSt program. Toronto has so many educational and entertaining activities on every week that it is a challenge to just choose a handful! The offerings included in the column vary based on the time of year and the columnist but are always sure to provide every reader with a well-rounded list of museum-related events in the Greater Toronto Area.


HISTORIC KITCHEN (est. May 2015)

Past writer: Leah Moncada
Please note that out of respect for Leah, Musings has retired the Historic Kitchen column. For more Historic Kitchen please check out Leah's website,  for all your historic cooking needs. Musings will, however, continue to publish articles about food and museums. You can find more food and museum related content in a new column called A Muse Bouche.)
Historic Kitchen explores historic times through the recipes, cookbooks, voices (such as Jane's in the above quote!), ingredients, cuisines, and flavours of peoples from the past. Join our historic chef while she bumbles about the kitchen! Follow along as she makes concoctions both familiar and sometimes those almost lost to time. Each post recreates a few recipes, using them as launching pads into interesting historical tidbits. Funny, insightful, and sometimes delicious, Historic Kitchen is a new lens into your favourite historic periods!

Previous Seasons:
Summer 2015: Ancient Greece and Rome
Fall 2015: Medieval and Renaissance Europe
Winter 2016: Canada 18th-20th centuries

NOT YOUR AVERAGE CISTORY (est. January 2019)

Past writer: Amelia Smith
Within Museum Studies, queer analysis has focused predominantly upon how sexuality and sexual identities interact with the museum. This has left a whole section of the LGBT without representation— the transgender community. Transgender issues are entering into the mainstream consciousness at an unprecedented level, but the field has been slow to address these themes. This column aims to rectify that. By acting as a stepping stone, Not Your Average Cistory looks to bridge the gap between Transgender Studies and Museum Studies. 


The series of digital stories about Toronto history and culture which make up this project are the work of fifty-three Master of Museum Studies (MMSt) graduate students. The project was inspired by the 2015 Myseum Intersections – Telling Toronto’s Stories and invited each storyteller to select an object from local collections which has significance to Toronto’s past and present. The objects inspired the authors to connect historical events with contemporary context so that they tell stories about the multiple intersections that happen in the city.

Each object was meticulously observed and researched, through multiple visits to the museum or archive, some detective work, and great enthusiasm. Of course, each object can tell multiple stories, so the storyteller’s challenge was to find the one that can resonate best with contemporary Torontonians, from Kensington Market to Scarborough, the Beaches to Etobicoke and beyond.

We hope that, after reading the stories, you will know Toronto a little bit better. And perhaps you will find similar stories in your own objects!

Our partners for this project, to which we are extremely thankful, are:

Archeological and Cultural Heritage Services

Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives

John M. Kelly Library, St. Mike’s College, University of Toronto

Lambton House

Myseum of Toronto

Ontario Jewish Archives

Private Collection of Russian Artefacts

Scarborough Archives

Scarborough Museum

The Multicultural Historical Society of Ontario

The Real Canadian Portuguese Museum

Toronto Botanical Garden

Toronto District School Board Archives

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