Jun 25, 2024  
2021-2022 University Catalog 
2021-2022 University Catalog [Archived Catalogue]

Museum Exhibition Planning & Design, MFA

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Stephanie Reyer, Program Director



For over a quarter century, the Master of Fine Arts in Museum Exhibition Planning & Design (MEPD) program, the only one in the country, has grown and progressed to stay at the vanguard of the rapidly and ever-evolving museum field. The program is focused on community-centric practice that includes the design of interpretive experiences as driven by inclusive content and audience engagement. Students learn concepts such as environmental psychology, visualizing/systems design, storytelling and sensory perception, as well as drawing, digital skills, documentation, prototype testing, and building techniques all in service to redefining material culture and social impact.

The city of Philadelphia is a key creative incubator, with endless opportunities to attend art openings and to take field trips to large, formal museums and smaller eclectic ones. Students of the MEPD program hail from academic and professional backgrounds as diverse as the museums, firms, and institutions they go on to intern and work for; the MEPD program accepts students with varied backgrounds not limited to the design fields.

Throughout the program students investigate museums and their role in the broader society, furthering the museum as a catalyst of new dialogue and potential action. Skill building is balanced with real-world challenges by partnering with museums, non-profits, schools, and cultural institutions. Students develop and refine skills of sketching, model-making, environmental graphic design, design research, audience research, prototyping/pilot testing, sustainable design practices, accessibility/universal design, academic, informal and exhibition writing, information architecture, and community engagement.
Full-time Museum Exhibition Planning & Design students undertake a four-semester course of study and a six to eight week (240 hours) professional-level summer internship. Students conclude their degree program with a thesis or a practice-based capstone project.

Program Objectives

  •     Communicate effectively (visually and verbally and in writing) to different audiences (audience, message and format)
  •     Engage in design and strategic thinking
  •     Conduct research to inform and improve practice
  •     Interpret data and content in industry standard and innovative ways
  •     To experiment and produce innovative design content
  •     Identify, strengthen and find value in their skills with teamwork and collaboration
  •     Collaborate with other museum professionals and problem solve to improve team dynamics and outcomes
  •     Demonstrate an understanding of museums (including history, formats, structures, and professional roles)

Program Requirements (60 credits)

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