CMS Course Descriptions

Read more about the Certificate of Museum Studies courses. Please be advised that course descriptions and formats are subject to change.
Format: Face-to-face or Online
This is the first of two courses which deals with the subject of preventive conservation. The artifact is examined and described in terms of material, manufacture, and condition. Types and causes of deterioration are also identified. Consideration of the environment focuses on phenomena that present themselves as potential hazards to the artifact. Core topics: Introduction to preventive conservation; introduction to the materials (Cellulosic, Proteinaceous, Inorganic); agents of deterioration (light, relative humidity, pollutants, pests, physical forces, dissociation); how to write a condition report; artifact handling,  and artifact labelling.
This course is the prerequisite for Care of Collections.

2021-2022 Course Director: Cindy Colford, Conservator, The Manitoba Museum

Care of Collections
Format: Online
This course is the second of two courses on the subject of preventive conservation. Participants will acquire the principles and techniques needed to prevent damage to artifacts during storage, display, handling, packing, and shipping. Differentiation between preventive conservation and treatment conservation will be examined, with practical suggestions for dealing with damaged artifacts provided. Core topics: Preventive Conservation/Treatment Conservation/Restoration; safe storage methods; disaster planning; handling collections; safe exhibition methods; packing & shipping artifacts; stable and unstable materials for exhibits and storage; conservation resources; how to hire a conservator; role of the conservator vs. the non-conservator when caring for collections; basic cleaning of paper, textiles, ceramics, wood, glass, leather, fire detection and prevention.
Prerequisite: Artifacts

2021-2022 Course Director: Carmen Li, Head of Conservation, Royal Alberta Museum

Collections Management
Format: Face-to-face or online
Participants will gain information and skills required to manage acquisitions, disposals, and loans, and to create and maintain the body of documentation which is the infrastructure of the collections. Core topics: Purpose of Collections Management (public trust, activities in collections management, collections policy); planning for collections growth; loans; acquisitions; repatriation; deaccessioning; access & security; fine arts insurance; risk management; appraisals/tax receipts; record keeping including computerized collections data management.
2021-2020 Course Director: Janet Reid, Curator, Markham Museum
Education Programs
Format: Face-to-face or online
The Education Programs course provides a learner-centered approach to the planning and design of engaging and relevant learning experiences for diverse audiences. Students will engage in hands-on and collaborative learning activities, connecting theory to practice while designing programming that responds to emerging trends and shifts in the museum field. Core topics include: philosophies of learning and education, interpretation best practices, design thinking, programming for diverse learners and audiences, evaluation, creative ways to engage new audiences, digital learning and education policy and standards. Students will demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of museum education through the creation of a comprehensive program plan as the culminating course assignment.
2021-2022 Course Director: Meredith Leonard, Senior Curator Learning and Interpretation, City of Hamilton
Exhibit Planning and Design
Format: Face-to-face or online
Learn to create vibrant, attractive and accessible exhibits that welcome and engage visitors of all ages. Through presentations, group work and hands-on activities, participants will work through all of the stages in developing a museum exhibit, from initial concept all the way to summative evaluation. Core topics include: the nature of exhibits; the audience; the big idea and exhibit brief; interpretive planning; writing text; budgets; curatorship; design; fabrication and evaluation. Throughout the course the focus is on proven, practical and cost-effective techniques and ideas.
2021-2022 Course Director: Meredith Leonard, Senior Curator Learning and Interpretation, City of Hamilton
Museums and the Community
Format: Face-to-face or online
Participants will gain the knowledge and skills required to coordinate the objectives and activities of the museum with the specific needs of its communities.  The course is designed to look at a wide range of issues facing museums in their search for audiences and support.  Emphasis will be placed on finding practical solutions and sharing ideas.  Core topics: relationships between Canadian museums and their communities in a rapidly-changing social, political and cultural environment re: programming, mission statements, audience development, marketing and fundraising; tools and practical solutions to negotiate support from potential sponsors and to communicate effectively with target audiences.

2021-2022 Course Director: Dr. Amy Barron, Program Coordinator, Fleming College Heritage Programs

Museums in Context
Format: Online
Participants are introduced to the social history and development of museums through an exploration of a series of themes and contexts. These include: The Historical Context (museum origins; Towards a Contemporary Definition of "Museum"), The Professional Context (Changing Nature of the Museum Workforce; Tools to Support Professionalism), The Social Context (Museums & Forces of Change, Envisioning the Future of Museums).

2021-2022 Course Director: Amber Lloydlangston, Curator, Regional History, Museum London

Museums in Historic Buildings (Facilities Management)
Format: Face-to-face

Participants will acquire the knowledge and techniques required to manage a museum within the context of an historic building, and to care for the historic building as an artifact. The objective of this course is to familiarize participants with the activities and concerns involved in the careful conservation of the historic building, particularly as they relate to the building’s use as a museum. Core topics: researching a building, the historic building as artifact, planning museum space & system needs, realizing a capital project, museum as a public facility, maintenance of building and grounds, programming the historic building.

2021-2022 Course Directors: Marc Letourneau, Principal, Letourneau Heritage Consulting


Organization and Management of Museums
Format: Online

Participants will acquire a broad understanding of how museums and galleries are managed in Canada. Through readings, case studies, and discussions, course participants will develop and understanding of key concepts in museum management including; Governance and Management; Administration (Policies / Finances / Human Resources); Strategic Management; and Leadership.


2021-2022 Course Director: Kathleen Powell, Supervisor of Historical Services, City of St. Catharines