Special Topics in Museum Studies
Museum Work / Critical Practice
The museum is a complex institution that engages 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. Student performance will be evaluated based on participation in discussions, a field project, as well as a midterm and final exam. Prerequisites: Museums and Society (MUSEUMS 301) is highly recommended.