Tribal Museum Studies

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 training opportunities, students in the Tribal Museum Studies program will further their knowledge for careers working in tribal museums and cultural centers.

We offer four core courses in the program that allow students to earn academic, transferable credit to an NWIC Associate of Arts and Sciences program, or to one of our Bachelor’s programs.  Students can take the four courses (19 credits) to earn an Award of Completion in Tribal Museum Studies.


Tribal Museum Studies Courses

TMSD 201   Introduction to Tribal Museum Studies (4 CR)

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.

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.

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.

to learn more & register

For more information about the program, or to register, please contact Lexie Tom, Native Studies Leadership Department Chair at the Coast Salish Institute.

Please see the Admissions Page for Tuition and Fees information