Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s anthropology program will be offering a new upper-level course this fall. Museum Lab, or ANTH 3503, taught by KPU instructor Lindsay Foreman, will give students a “behind the scenes” opportunity to learn how museums operate and the chance to connect with KPU’s Curator in Residence.
The course is open to students outside of the anthropology program, but they must fill out an application form for permission to take the course. In spring 2024, students will take a practicum course connected to Museum Lab, where they will be assigned a museum placement to work at.
Students will spend one day a week working with their aligned museum, says Larissa Petrillo, lead advisor for work integrated learning at KPU.
“If people are excited about the role of museums with children, they could work on programming. If they are excited about cataloging artifacts, they can be working with the curatorial staff,” Petrillo says.
“There are a lot of options within the museums themselves and each museum is working with us to create meaningful projects.”
Museum Lab is also a great opportunity for students to get real life experience in the workforce and decide if it is the right path for them.
“There is a need for a lot of hiring in this area. One of the best ways to build the future of the heritage sector in B.C. is to get students learning what they like and do not like about particular roles in museums,” Petrillo says.
“It allows them to start narrowing their focus and deciding what their career trajectory would be.”
KPU hopes to continue to offer more integrated learning courses like these in the future.
“We know that students often develop skills that they never anticipated when they get hands-on opportunities. We have some learning outcomes associated with work integrated learning as a whole that we find students are getting when they finish these kinds of courses,” Petrillo says.
There will also be a $1,000 award given to a student that has finished the practicum in the spring.
“You can’t pay a wage for integrated learning, so instead, an award is an ideal way to give something back to students and recognize the contributions they have made. The museums and funders wanted to be able to offer something to the students,” Petrillo says.
There will also be an extra award given to an Indigenous student who applies for the course. The program aims to create a proper museum for students to display their work in the near future.
“At this point, [the Museum Lab] is in classrooms. We do not have a designated place, although that might emerge in the fall term,” she says.
For more information on Museum Lab and to learn how to apply, visit KPU’s website.