In Context - The official blog of the Department of Art History at UST - Page 2
Graduate Student

Meet Our Graduate Students: Michael Rainville

Michael Rainville, Jr. is currently in his second year of the M.A. Art History/Museum Studies Certificate program.

Where did you go as an undergrad and what did you study?

I majored in History with a minor in Art History at the University of St. Thomas. In addition, I was part of the Renaissance program, which exposes you to a little bit of everything in the business field.

What drew you to the University St. Thomas to continue your M.A.?

When I decided to get the Art History minor, Dr. Young (Professor and Chair of Art History), notified me that they were starting up the Museum Studies certificate program. I was debating between Archaeology or Art History, but the Museum Studies certificate program pulled me in because I know I want to work at a museum in some way, shape, or form. In addition, I was familiar with the professors and the university.

What advice would you give someone considering St. Thomas for the Graduate Art History/Museum Studies Certificate program?

I would say it’s not as scary as it seems – graduate school, in general. I was familiar with the professors and how most of them taught. If you can analyze readings and write, you can be a graduate student.

What are you currently interested in?

Dr. Young is an architectural historian, so I am leaning towards doing my Qualifying Paper on Our Lady of Lourdes Church, which is the church I belong to in Southeast Minneapolis. It is right by the Stone Arch Bridge and Nicollet Island. I am the sixth generation to go to that church. Interestingly, it is the oldest continuous Catholic church building in Minnesota. It is also the first church in the United States to be named after Lady of Lourdes. There have been multiple renovations to the building, where hopefully there is enough to write about.

How were your classes your first semester?

I took Methods & Approaches to Art History. I had Dr. Barnes in my undergrad, so I like that familiarity. I also took the Museum Studies Class. It was a fun and engaging first class for the museum field. The projects were fun and engaging, not the traditional “research and write” projects.

What has been your biggest challenge?

As a History major it prepared in terms of reading, writing, and analyzing. History and Art History are very similar, but the amount of reading can be a lot. I just need to sit down and do it before I get distracted with something else.

Since you were a History undergraduate student, what has helped you with Art History the most?

My History degree brings another focus to Art History. I do enjoy analyzing colors, shapes, and all that, but like knowing the story behind it. That’s what makes Art History fun for me.