The program is offered by Parsons' School of Art and Design History and Theory (ADHT), alongside related MA programs in fashion studies and design studies.
The City as Campus
Matriculating in the MA History of Design and Curatorial Studies 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.
NYC: Museum as Classroom
The program's New York home,
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, is the only museum in the United States devoted exclusively to historical and contemporary design. Most classes are held in the program's suite of rooms on the museum campus, where students meet and work with renowned curators, designers, collectors, and scholars. Students have access to the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Library, which remains open evenings and weekends for the exclusive use of program participants.
The Cooper Hewitt museum is housed in the historic Carnegie mansion on Fifth Avenue. Cooper Hewitt's affiliation with the Smithsonian allows students free access to most of the country's museums. Students can take advantage of other nearby museums, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Frick Collection, and the Neue Galerie, each of which have senior staff members who trained in the Parsons/Cooper Hewitt MA program.
Paris: New Opportunities in a Historic Setting
Parsons Paris will benefit from opportunities to conduct research using local collections and work with curators, educators, and visiting scholars there. The city is known for its museums, galleries, auction houses, archives, and historic houses, and Parsons' relationship to these cultural institutions creates new opportunities for students to access these resources in their research.
Parsons as Resource
Students in the History of Design and Curatorial Studies program can also enroll in the other graduate courses offered by Parsons. In collaborating with Parsons students training to be design practitioners, students in the MA program develop a better understanding of the cultural forces that shape the contemporary material world while gaining an appreciation of the role that design plays in it.