Museums and Society
This course serves as the gateway course to students' formal understanding of the field of museum studies. Students will be introduced to the three thematic areas that form the basis of the undergraduate museum studies curriculum — institutions, objects and collections, and society. The course's emphases will be several: to provide an introduction to the institution of the museum, its historical origins and contemporary challenges; to introduce key theory from the field of museum studies and examine the relationship of that theory to case studies drawn from the world of museums; and to develop critical thinking skills about the changing relationship between objects, audience, and museums as we enter the digital age.
"Museums and Society" will utilize a diverse pedagogy. Students will complete readings, listen to lectures, participate in discussion sessions, and take examinations but they will also view a series of films on the museum, visit campus collections to observe the nature of the museum experience, attend campus wide presentations, and participate in a "digital curation" project designed to provide first-hand understanding of collections documentation, label writing, and exhibition design. Having acquired a basic "museum literacy," graduates of the course will possess the knowledge and insight to embrace museums as institutions of learning, community engagement, and cultural stewardship.