Making Museums: Architectural Space and Social Engagement
The relation of the museum to society is complex and in a state of change. Museums – traditionally characterized as static, defiantly resistant to change - are responding by assuming new roles, fashioning new societal relationships, and reconfiguring themselves around a variety of cultural and heritage resources. A key element of this redefinition has been the use of architecture. "Starchitects," including such figures as Frank Lloyd Wright, Frank Gehry, Renzo Piano, and David Adjaye, have created museum spaces that change the way objects are viewed and cultural narratives are presented. The goal of this course is to introduce the area of museum architecture, focusing on design decisions at the scale of the exhibit, building, and urban setting. A range of issues debated in contemporary museology will be treated, including museum space; object, authenticity, and experience; the relationship of museums to their communities; the museum as educator; and architectural aesthetics.