My Grad School Highlights and Portfolio Pieces

Claire Cossaboon
As I reflect on my time in the University of the Arts’ Museum Communication graduate program, I see my 18-month planner packed with networking events and guest-speakers/interviews, 5 volumes of projects and assignments archiving some of my proudest portfolio pieces, colleagues who have become friends and valuable contacts, and real-life work experiences in dozens of the area’s museums and arts/culture organizations–an explosion of growth on my professional resumé.

It is far too difficult to pinpoint a single most valuable assignment, so the following are a few highlights of my favorite projects and experiences…


Graduate Museum Project 

Through the semester-long Graduate Museum Project, I worked with a diverse team to develop an exhibition for the University of Pennsylvania’s Oceanic Collection. I put my heart and soul into the exhibition’s Marketing Plan, Development Plan, Case for Support Statement, Collections Plan and Traveling Prospectus.

The following are excerpts from the Case for Support Statement…


Magic Gardens — Audience Evaluation & Analysis

During this semester-long study for Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, my team worked closely with staff to determine evaluation goals. We developed survey and interview instruments and conducted on-site evaluations of PMG’s visitor demographics and take-aways. How exciting and rewarding it was to analyze and present the final data, spreadsheets, and charts to PMG staff!

The following are excerpts from the final Evaluation Report…


Graphics – Visual Marketing Campaign

This Museum Graphics design project was an informational brochure for the mock museum I created, the Shoeseum. I developed a graphic identity and marketing plan.

Graphics – Book

My most favorite Museum Graphics project allowed me to tap into my personal passions by designing an art history book–an interactive way to further explore a museum’s collection. My book engages viewers by offering curious glimpses into both thumbnail details of masterworks and the artists’ personalities; viewers participate in a “guess and reveal” journey throughout the book’s spreads.

Excerpt of book…”3 & 4″ spread
Excerpt of book… “I & J” spread
Excerpt of book… “M & N” spread


Issues in Museums 

As institutional public value and financial sustainability are continuous challenges for the arts and culture sector, the Issues in Museums class is one of the most valuable courses offered at Uarts. Each student conducts an audit of an unfamiliar city and museum, and determines a target audience and need. Throughout the semester, I developed a city and museum profile by researching strengths and weaknesses, current offerings, museum challenges, audience limitations, and the public value and social impact of the museum on its city and audiences. I also outlined a project budget, as well as researched relevant communication strategies, partnerships and prospective funders. This course allowed for semester-long case studies and exercises in the relevance of proposing solutions and securing financial sustainability while anticipating challenges and outcomes.

My findings identified Portland Museum of Art’s need for the development of a program providing exclusive access and an open forum for local caregivers with children three years old and younger. 

Below are a few excerpts from my Case Statement…


Museum Communication is vital to every institution and involves all departments as they strive to uphold the mission, grow as a community resource, and make themselves most accessible for audiences. I have learned first-hand that, from data-heavy studies & analyses to visual design to cases for support to interdepartmental collaboration, communication is absolutely essential to everything internal and external of a museum. I am so grateful to have experienced such a valuable combination of projects, seminars, assistantships, and networking that will surely be applied throughout my professional career.