Gretchen Sorin

I learned to love museums while prowling around the galleries of the Newark Museum with my brother when we were children. I found CGP as a college undergraduate and one visit convinced me that it was a truly special place. After working as a museum educator, a director and a consultant to more than 200 museums over 30 years I returned to lead CGP. In addition to directing the program I teach courses in museum studies, museum exhibition, and African American art. All courses at CGP involve participatory learning and students in my classes complete real projects for a variety of museums in New York State. My particular area of expertise is exhibition development and I continue to enjoy creating exhibitions that address issues of social justice. Several of my exhibitions traveled nationally. CGP is active in the museum field and I encourage students to work with me on projects related to museum professional organizations.

I believe that museums have a civic responsibility. They are essential learning environments, providing visitors with the knowledge to be well informed citizens who understand the processes of government and have the tools to make thoughtful decisions about community issues. Using artifacts, art, and documents museums can teach visitors how to evaluate evidence and determine its veracity, understand the way that American democracy works and when it has failed to work, and make informed choices about community issues and about voting. But of course, to fulfill these goals museums must have sufficient public appeal to attract visitors and they must keep visitors coming back while possessing the business acumen to enable the museum to survive. That is why CGP places such emphasis on museum administration fundraising and planning, the focus of many courses at CGP and components of many museums’ studies courses. We don’t just want you to know about history or science museums, we want you to know how institutions operate and how to function as a team member within one.

As Director of CGP I have the pleasure of working with a talented and dedicated team of faculty and staff who enjoy working with students and love their jobs. We mirror what we teach, which makes CGP a great place to work and to go to school. Building and expanding the founders’ vision in the 1960s our focus today is on cultural literacy, social justice, and audience engagement. We may be one of the oldest museum studies programs in the country, but we remain at the forefront of the profession today. Our students want to use museums to make the world a better place. We’re here to help them do it.

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