Lubbock Christian University’s (LCU) Department of Humanities has announced the addition of the new Bachelor of Museum and Heritage Studies degree beginning fall 2023.
Dr. Gary Lindsey, Associate Professor of History, explained that this new degree will broaden the scope of career opportunities for his students who have a passion for history but don’t anticipate going into the classroom to teach.
“We have many students who enjoy history—it’s their interest and passion,” he explained, “and this new Museum and Heritage Studies degree gives them an opportunity to use that passion with their degree in history to position themselves to work in museums, public history, tourism, and other opportunities in that area.”
LCU will be one of only two universities in the state of Texas to offer this new program, and graduates with this degree will have ample opportunities for either continuing education or employment. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the median pay for an archivist, curator, or other museum worker was $50,210 per year in 2021, which was above the national average. Additionally, over the next decade jobs in the sector are projected to grow by 12% or nearly 5,000 jobs per year, which is much faster than average.
“Some of the advantage is regional, located where we are,” Dr. Lindsey explained. “West Texas, New Mexico, and Oklahoma are home to numerous museums—many of the small towns around here have local museums, and Lubbock has several larger established venues. We also see this as an opportunity to partner with Texas Tech,” he continued. “Students can get their bachelor’s here and then transition seamlessly into the master's program down the road if they choose to do so.”
Students enrolled in the program will be engaged in specialized courses including Introduction to Historic Preservation, which will prepare them for the specific duties involved in caring for artifacts and collections in museums. Courses will also include a hands-on experiential component with excursions to local and regional museums which offer many different types and sizes.
“Our students will get a behind-the-scenes tour of the museum including all of the back-room processes and activities, so they can see where they might plug in to the museum,” Dr. Lindsey explained. “We want to expose them to both smaller museums and larger museums so that they can get a taste across the industry.”
A central piece of the curriculum also includes industry internships. During his time working with a similar program at another institution, Dr. Lindsey recalled that he had students securing prestigious internships at renowned venues like the Smithsonian Institution at the American Indian Museum in Washington D.C., which remains an opportunity for LCU students through LCU Washington program.
“Heritage tourism is a growing area in the country,” Dr. Lindsey emphasized. “A lot of cities cater to tourists who want to learn about the culture and the heritage of the area. We’re seeing a renewed interest in battle reenactments, like having to do with the Civil War, or even American Indian history, like at the Little Bighorn battle site in southern Montana.”
Graduates with a degree in Museum and Heritage Studies are prime candidates for careers as archivists, conservators, curators, directors, docents, exhibit designers, grant writers, graphic designers, historians, museum educators, and many other positions in the industry.
“With all of that opportunity,” shared Dr. Lindsey, “we just feel like it's natural fit for LCU.”
Learn more about opportunities in LCU’s J.E. & Eileen College of Liberal Arts.