MUSEUMS 498 - Special Topics in Museum Studies
Fall 2022, Section 001 - Directing and Programming
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: Museums (MUSEUMS)
Department: LSA History of Art
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Advisory Prerequisites:
MUSEUMS 301 or MSP 601.
May be repeated for a maximum of 6 credit(s). May be elected more than once in the same term.
Rackham Information:
Rackham credit requires additional work.
Primary Instructor:
Start/End Date:
Full Term 8/29/22 - 12/9/22 (see other Sections below)
NOTE: Drop/Add deadlines are dependent on the class meeting dates and will differ for full term versus partial term offerings.
For information on drop/add deadlines, see the Office of the Registrar and search Registration Deadlines.


Welcome to the museum. Perhaps one of the institutions that best define and synthesize contemporaneity. Museums are large public plazas that make perceptible ideologies and tensions that are usually not visible in our society. In the course of their activity, the broad notion of culture, science and art, ideology and expressions of power, norm and discrepancy, obedience and criticism, community and tourism, academicism and entertainment are intertwined and confronted. Museums, rather than analyzing reality and trying to rationalize the broad shared space of politics, aim to create a platform that allows exposing that reality to multiple subjectivities.

This course will analyze all the functions of the museum from the point of view of its director and the rest of its management team. Considering that a museum is both what is done and how it is done, the course will review the tasks of acquisition, conservation, research, communication, and display as they should be supervised by the director of the institution. We will pay special attention to the relations with the governance bodies, as the director is, above all, the person who detects the concerns of the staff and the community (both those who are already users of the museum and those who are not) and transmit it to the board members. The course will encompass several typologies of museums, including art, natural sciences, history, archaeological, encyclopedic and smaller local museums.

Throughout the course, we will study the multiple scientific, financial, ideological, and practical conditions that determine the daily operation of the museum's management. We will analyze the programming (exhibitions, public events, educational activities, publications, web) as a form of expression of the scientific and ideological definition of the institution. We will also examine the emergence of conflicts, and how governing bodies address them. We will take as a reference some of the conflicts that have emerged in recent years in American museums to understand to what extent they are a reflection of broader concerns that society has and the way a museum can use them to obtain useful lessons to imagine the future.


MUSEUMS 498 - Special Topics in Museum Studies
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
 In Person
MW 10:00AM - 11:30AM
8/29/22 - 12/9/22

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Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

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