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DEADLINE EXTENDED - “Museum Origins” Summer Course in Italy!

Posted Dec. 5, 2012

The Museum Origins course offered by the School of Library and Information Science (SLIS) at Kent State University is now accepting applications for the eight-week, summer 2013 class, which includes two weeks in Florence, Italy, visiting museums and learning about the collectors and collections from which they evolved. The deadline to apply for this course has been extended to April 1, 2013.

Remaining seats in the three-credit course will be opened up to upper-division undergraduates in any major, as well as graduate students and anyone who has already completed a graduate degree from any institution. Students in the 2012 course came from varied academic backgrounds, including history, anthropology, classics, business and other fields, and were enrolled in graduate programs at Kent State, State University of New York-University at Buffalo and University of KentuckMuseo Stibbert, Florence, Italyy.

Admission to the course is competitive; only 15 students will be accepted. Application materials and additional details are available at

The 2013 course runs from June 10 to Aug. 3, and is onsite in Florence, Italy, from June 30 to July 12. Students will spend the first three weeks reading, researching and preparing for the trip. The next two weeks, in Florence, involve touring museums and private collections that will enhance the readings and help build knowledge for a final research paper. Students will visit, among other sites, the Uffizi Gallery, Museo Stibbert (right), Palazzo Davanzati, Palazzo Vecchio, Museo Galileo and Museo di Storia Naturale. The final three weeks of the class will be dedicated to completion of the research paper. There are no face-to-face class meetings outside of those in Italy.

Kevin Steinbach (below, right, at Museo Stibbert), from Canton, Ohio, took the class in 2012 as part of the Master of Library and Information Science (M.L.I.S.) museum studies specialization at Kent State. He said, “This class is what sold me on applying for the M.L.I.S. degree. I knew without a doubt that I would get the experience of a lifetime and learn so much by immersing myself in the culture where museums were ‘born’ -- something you can’t get anywhere else.”

Michelle Rucker, from Columbus, Ohio, is also in Kent State’s M.L.I.S.  program. Of her experience in the 2012 class, she said, “Even though I am not in the Museum Studies program -- I’m on the librarian track -- this class was still relevant to me. Being there, visiting the museums, walking in the same halls as these famous artists and the Medici -- it was all pretty amazing. And having the local professors as guides added so much more to the trip than if I were to go by myself.”

Each day after visiting the museums, students participate in class Kevin Steinbach at Museo Stibbertdiscussions in Kent State’s Florence facility, the Palazzo dei Cerchi, a prestigious building in the historic center of the city, just north of Piazza della Signoria. Medieval Florentine sources date it at about 1280 and indicate that it belonged to the Cerchi merchant family. Records show that in the 15th century, the building was used as studio space for Renaissance painters and later by Cosimo I de’ Medici as the ducal printing house. Though fully restored and equipped for state-of-the-art educational purposes, the Palazzo dei Cerchi preserves its outstanding medieval features and decorations.

For the two weeks onsite in Florence, students live in shared apartments arranged by the university. All apartments are fully furnished and located within the ancient city walls and within walking distance of the Palazzo.

The course is taught by SLIS Assistant Professor Kiersten F. Latham, Ph.D., who leads the school’s museum studies specialization. She holds a Ph.D. in library and information management from Emporia State University, Kans.; a master's in historical administration and museum studies from the University of Kansas; and a bachelor's in anthropology from the University of Michigan. She has more than 20 years' experience working in museums in various capacities – as curator, collection manager, director, volunteer, program coordinator, archivist, historic interpreter, board member, exhibit designer and consultant.

In Italy, tours and lectures are provided in English by local Florentine scholars.

For more information, including application materials, visit