By Jordan Beach
The metropolitan Atlanta area offers a wide variety of museums, from the High Museum of Art and the Center for Civil and Human Rights to the Tellus Science Museum and the Atlanta History Center. Fortunately for Reinhardt students interested in studying museums, they need to look no further than the Waleska campus.
Reinhardt’s history department and the Funk Heritage Center (FHC) will offer a museum studies minor program starting fall 2019 to include hands-on experience and opportunities to work with the FHC staff. According to FHC director Jeff Bishop, the program will teach all aspects of careers in museums, “including curation, administration, exhibit conceptualization and development, programming, preservation and much more.”
“I don’t want the museum to be viewed as some kind of outlier or appendage. I think every student and faculty member should feel fully invested in the museum as a part of the larger campus community,” he added.
The Funk Heritage Center has been a source of Appalachian settlement and Native American history since opening its doors to the Cherokee County and Reinhardt communities on Nov. 16, 1999. The Heritage Center continues to host educational programs for all ages, hosting tours for children and lecture series for adults.
As a graduate student seeking museum studies certification, Bishop commuted to downtown Atlanta to supplement his courses but sees the location of the Heritage Center as an advantage for history students.
“We have a museum, but no museum studies program. I wanted to change that and offer opportunities for Reinhardt students to learn about the museum career field,” said Bishop. “Why not take advantage of a major resource that’s sitting right here on campus?”
In addition to the new program, the FHC offers internships for those in various fields of studies. Madeline Gray ‘18, Arius Gilstrap and James Gilbert took positions in fall 2018.
Gilbert is a senior digital media arts major from Decatur, and spent his time with the FHC learning “how to write cohesive pieces for newsletters and how to create quality professional graphic design products using InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator.”
“After graduation, I intend to use my new skills to professionally write and design quality content,” said Gilbert.
Bishop spent his first six months as director making connections around campus to involve faculty and students in the FHC to work together in new and exciting ways.
“I want to change the focus of the Funk to be more student-centered and more aligned with the core mission and purposes of the University as a whole,” said Bishop.
The director found the responses to his vision to be incredible and is looking forward to what the Funk can accomplish in conjunction with Reinhardt moving forward.