Molly McIntosh is currently in her first semester of the Master of Arts in Art History and Graduate Certificate in Museum Studies. She is enrolled in Methodology and Approaches of Art History and Museum Studies II: Collections, Curation, and Controversy.
Where did you go as an undergraduate and what did you study?
I studied at the University of St. Thomas and majored in History.
What were you doing before you decided to switch gears and get your Master of Arts in Art History and Graduate Certificate in Museum Studies?
I volunteered at a local historical society – the Aitkin County Historical Society and the MilleLacs Indian Museum while continuing to work at the Minnesota State Capitol as a historic interpreter.
What drew you to the University St. Thomas?
I mainly came for the museum studies program. I had been made familiar with it beforehand from some of my professors in the history program. They said it was a good fit for me because I was always talking about museums. I was offered a museum fellowship with the Minnesota Historical Society (MNHS) at the History Center. This is a fellowship that they do once or twice a year to help young professionals navigate the museum field. I accepted that, and it was awesome!
Were you designated to one department during the fellowship or did you do a little bit of everything?
The Museum Fellows do a little bit of everything. We get to meet a lot of professionals at the Minnesota Historical Society from different areas. I got to learn a little bit about grant writing, the process of asking for donations, the educational side of it, as well as programming and finance. People from MNHS would come and do a talk in front of the class about what they do and then you did a lot of reading on their area of expertise, which was intensive. We ended with a week-long trip to Chicago to see over a dozen museums. It was a great experience!
What advice would you give someone thinking of applying to the M.A. in Art History and Museum Studies Certificate program?
If it was for the Graduate Museum Studies Certificate I would definitely tell them to do internships, volunteer, or try to secure a position within some historical society or within a museum and feel your way through. There are so many paths that you can take in museums.
What are you currently interested in?
When it comes to art history, I’ve explored a lot into the history of tattoo art, body art, and some body modification. I think it is a form of art that is really underappreciated, especially considering it has an unconventional canvas. There are some fantastic tattoo artists in the world and here in Minnesota that are underappreciated because their art comes from a different medium. I would like to see more tattoo artists and graffiti artists in particular, being given the chance to display their art in a formal way and given the time of day for what their talents are. I would like to see their work considered in the same way that people appreciate the old masters or contemporary works.
How are your classes this semester?
My classes are going great. I enjoy the challenge of upper-level courses and the gratification of learning things that pertain to the career field I aspire to work in. I’ve also made great new friends with like-minded people as passionate as I am about art and museums.
What has been your biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge with graduate school is the time and the expense. You’ll see a lot of people in graduate school from all walks of life, some people more settled and those that aren’t more settled. I went to undergraduate here mainly on scholarships and grants. I was very lucky to graduate with very minimal loans. I didn’t come from a particularly well-off family. Graduate school, for me, is working three jobs and working six days a week and devoting myself to what I am really passionate about. It makes it all worth it in the end, but you just need to remember you are going to school for something you are passionate about.