Winter 2010 LSA THEME SEMESTER: Meaningful Objects: Museums in the Academy
Coordinated by the Museums Studies Program, the Fall 2009 LSA Theme Semester, Meaningful Objects: Museums in the Academy will examine the history, mission, purposes, and future of the university museum. Like museums outside the academy, university museums are dynamic sites where theory meets practice and where bridges are built between disparate users, experiences, and world views.
Celebrating the University’s renewed investments in its museums, the LSA Museum Theme Semester will explore
- the relationship of the object and the museum (both broadly understood) through a broad but focused cluster of events and activities. Key concepts and themes that encapsulate our vision are:
Wonder – Time – Space – Place – Authenticity – Authority – Resonance – Encounter –Memory – Heritage – Identity – Evidence – Interpretation – Display – Meaning.
- The role and value of the university museum particularly in areas of authority and “voice,” mediation, knowledge production and transmission, interdisciplinarity, boundary crossing, and the diversity / multiplicity of perspectives/voices.
- The impact of the university museum on the University community and contemporary society.
First-year students will read a book as part of a museum-focused summer reading program.
Through a diverse set of programs, courses, and exhibitions, the Museums in the Academy Theme Semester will: engage students, faculty, staff, and community audiences with possibilities for experimentation and interaction in campus museum spaces (in the broadest sense); increase faculty utilization of museums for research and teaching; increase understanding of museums as portals for public engagement with the research and teaching missions of the University; and increase the appreciation among the general public for the unique and vital roles played by the University’s museums and collections.
The proposed activities during the year of the Theme Semester will include the following components:
- reopening of the Museum of Art and the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology
- Exhibits at various campus museums designed specifically for the Theme Semester
- Theatrical performance: “The Struggle for Existence: Darwin's Dreams,” written by U-M's Catherine Badgley, directed by Kate Mendeloff of the Residential College, with U-M faculty and students as actors, to be performed in the Exhibit Museum.
- “Wednesday Night Museums” lecture series
- Weekly Speaker Series – “A Day at the Museum” featuring the breadth of U M’s Museum professionals
- Colloquium: (Re)Presenting Indigenous Knowledge
- Native American Events on teaching Native American histories and culture, and Indian representations in museums
- Behind-the-Scenes Day showcasing normally inaccessible areas or activities of the University’s museums and other collections.