Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


College of the Arts


Art and Design

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Ronald Sharps

Committee Member

Richard Peterson

Committee Member

Susi Colin


In the 21st century, technology permeates nearly every aspect of society. The process of scholarship and the way information is retrieved and utilized has been affected by technology. The museum has undergone efforts to incorporate technology into its operations, from interactive exhibitions and digital collections to social media websites. In a technology-infused world, museums must strive to be relevant to all of their audiences, including to its scholars and professional researchers. Museums also have to contend with external influences, such as social and economic trends, that affect museums’ decisions on many operational aspects, including whether or not to implement technology to assist scholars in their work at the museum.

This thesis serves to discuss museums’ current contributions to scholarship and the research process involving technology such as websites, digital collections, and other types of digital offerings. It will briefly discuss each of these technologies and how they relate to the scholar’s experience. Such issues as intellectual property will be addressed. This thesis will also explore the relationship between the museum and the scholar, both presently and its implications for the future. The relationship between the scholar and the museum will be analyzed through interviews with current museum professionals, some of which are scholars themselves. Through research in current literature, as well as extensive interviews and surveys of today’s museum professionals, this thesis will demonstrate that scholarship is in a current state of flux between its traditional roots and digital future. Although the scholarship process has not essentially changed in the wake of museums upgrading their infrastructures presently, it has been greatly enhanced by the tools offered to the museum.

File Format