Tribal Museum Studies Program

These courses are now offered ONLINE in a hybrid format. Hybrid courses use Moodle- the NWIC online classroom- and are supported through regularly scheduled video conferencing (face-to-face) classes with the instructor and students. A webcam, headset and microphone are required.

FALL Course Announcement available here.

The Northwest Indian College is committed to providing indigenous peoples with opportunities to learn about and develop skills related to tribal history and cultural arts.  Through courses, workshops and trainings people in the Tribal Museum Studies Program will further their knowledge for careers working in tribal museums and cultural centers.

We offer four core courses that allow students to earn academic, transferrable credit to an NWIC Associate of Arts and Sciences Degree, or to one of our Bachelor of Arts degree programs.  The courses below will be offered in sequence beginning the Fall Quarter 2013. Students can take the four courses (19 credits) to earn an Award of Completion in Tribal Museum Studies.  Please click the link to download the TMSD Brochure.

Tribal Museum Studies Courses

TMSD 201   Introduction to Tribal Museum Studies (4 CR)  - to be offered this Fall

This course presents an overview of museums with an emphasis on tribal museums and cultural centers; explores the ethical and legal issues related to Native people and the museums that portray their histories; contrasts mainstream museums and community-driven tribal museums and the skills needed for careers in museums and as Native artists.  Click here to see a sample course syllabus.

TMSD 360   Collections Management in Tribal Museums (5 CR)

This course focuses on the fundamental practical issues related to collections management ranging from the basics of artifact handling, storage solutions, preventative conservation, object cataloging, photographing, as well as registration methods such as accessioning, deaccessioning, and loans, related legal and ethical issues. Collections management principles and practices discussed will focus on both general professional practices as well as those aspects which are tribal specific, e.g. tribal language oriented cataloging, restrictive access to and/or handling of sacred objects, and specialized tribal approaches to conservation and storage to ensure tribal integrity of objects. Click here to see a sample course syllabus.

TMSD 362   Administration and Operations in Tribal Museums (5 CR)

This course is designed to acquaint students with the significant features of tribal museum administration. Professional museum best practices will be presented for each aspect of museum administration in the context of tribal museum operations.

TMSD 364   Museum Exhibition and Education in Tribal Museums (5 CR)

This course provides students with the opportunity to further develop the interpretive practices appropriate to their educational and professional goals. Students apply principles of exhibits design and educational programs in class seminars and studio work that foregrounds the two-way communication process between museums and their communities, emphasizing working with tribal institutions and Native ways of knowing.


For more information about the program, or to register, please contact Susan Given-Seymour or Tami Chock at the NWIC Continuing Education/Extension Office: 

Susan Given-Seymour, Director of NWIC Outreach, Extension & Training,, Phone: (360) 392-4248

Tami Chock, Extension Program Specialist,, Phone: (360) 392-4259

Please see the Admissions Page for Tuition and Fees information