MUSEUMS 401 - Contemporary Issues in Museums
Section: 001 Museum Work / Critical Practice
Term: WN 2018
Subject: Museums (MUSEUMS)
Department: LSA History of Art
Enforced Prerequisites:
MUSEUMS 301 or MSP 601.
May not be repeated for credit.
Rackham Information:
Rackham credit requires additional work.
Primary Instructor:

The museum is a complex institution that pursues a range of social, political, economic and cultural strategies to achieve its mission — strategies that exploit the expertise of individuals associated with a number of intellectual and technical disciplines. This course examines the multiple knowledges that converge, coalesce and contribute to the collaborative dynamics of the contemporary museum. Simply put, the course considers the theory and practice of museum work; the work undertaken by curators, exhibition designers, educators, conservators, collection managers, financial officers and administrators. We compare the work of these professionals in various settings, specifically in art, natural history, history and science museums. Ultimately “Museum Work” seeks an understanding of and appreciation for critical reflective museum practice. The course involves weekly readings, lectures, class discussions, visits to campus museums and conversations with museum professionals.

Textbooks/other materials: Required textbook, The Return of Curiosity: What Museums Are Good For in the 21st Century by Nicholas Thomas (London: Reaktion Books, 2016). Weekly readings will be drawn from a set of articles, essays and book excerpts available on a course Canvas site.

Course Requirements:

Class participation (15%), a “reflective journal” of experiences associated with the course (25%), an oral presentation (10%) and short paper (15%) reporting on focused study of a specific dimension of museum work, the submission of “critical questions” for each module (15%), and a final exam (20%)

Class Format:

Two 1.5-hour seminar meetings per week.

MUSEUMS 401 - Contemporary Issues in Museums
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
TuTh 2:30PM - 4:00PM
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