Offered in cooperation with the Musée des Arts Décoratifs and other leading institutions in the field of Art and Design in Paris, the History of Decorative Arts and Design* program leads to a master of arts degree. Graduates may go on to careers as historians, curators, and scholars in museums, universities, historic houses, auction houses, and galleries.
The curriculum focuses on the stylistic, historical, and theoretical contexts of arts, decorative arts and design from the Renaissance to the present with a specific attention to the history of collections and the contemporary issues in curation. Object-based courses on a broad range of works, movements, theories and practices go beyond connoisseurship to address objects as intersections of socio-historic meaning and aesthetic theory.
Classes meet either on campus or in the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, offering students the opportunity not only to learn directly from the collection but also to work with curators, educators, visiting researchers, and designers in the museum's community of scholars. Students gain hands-on experience in museum practices and procedures; they will be encouraged to pursue for-credit internships in museums, galleries, auction house archives, and historic houses around the city.
The MA in History of Decorative Arts and Design will be offered at Parsons Paris in fall 2014. The New York and Paris campuses have the same application process and curriculum, so students will have the opportunity to begin their study in one city and take a semester or year in the other. Parsons' long-standing relationships with cultural institutions in Paris, including the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, will create opportunities for students in the Paris program to engage in a unique learning experience that draws on the many collections, archives, and galleries in this historic city.
Matriculating in the MA History of Decorative Arts and Design program means enrolling in New York City or Paris. Home to some of the world's most important collections of design and decorative arts and central to the art marketplace, the two cities present ideal locations for graduate study. Students attend exhibitions, dealers' fairs, and auctioneers' presale shows.
The program's Paris home, the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, is the only museum in France devoted exclusively to historical and contemporary design. Most classes are held inside the museum, where students meet and work with renowned curators, designers, collectors, and scholars. The Musée des Arts Décoratifs is housed in an aisle of the Palais du Louvre. Students can take advantage of other nearby museums, such as the Musée du Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay, the Centre Georges Pompidou, the Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine, etc.
Parsons offers History of Decorative Arts and Design. The Master of Arts degree is awarded for completion of 48 credits of coursework and a master's examination or thesis or collective curatorial project (exhibition + catalogue). In order to sit for a master's examination or write a thesis, students must pass a proficiency exam in French. A maximum of 6 credits of graduate-level coursework can be transferred from another accredited institution. Students must maintain a 3.0 cumulative grade point average and fulfill all requirements in a timely manner.
* Design History & Curatorial Studies, pending NASAD approval.