E663 | 0436 | Girshick

Graduate Standing or permission of instructor.

The modern museum has come a long way since its emergence in the
nineteenth century as a "cabinet of curiosities." Instead of merely
displaying objects, museum exhibits today draw on recent scholarship in
art, literary criticism, and social history to offer broad interpretations
about the origins, meaning and value of objects, as well as theories about
the thoughts and behavior of the people who made them and used
them....The transformation of the museum from reliquary to forum has
forced curators to reassess their role as cultural custodians.
Increasingly, curators must ask if museums retain the responsibility of
validating and confirming tradition, who has the authority to interpret
history to the public -- indeed, who "owns" history?

A. Henderson & A. Kaeppler (eds).
1996. Exhibiting Dilemmas, 1-2.

This course will explore the ideas, values and symbols that pervade and
shape the practice of exhibiting other cultures. It will examine the ways
in which museums and other sites of exhibition accord objects particular
significances, the politics of exhibitions and display strategies, and the
interpretive differences between art, anthropology and other types of
museums and institutions which exhibit other cultures.

Requirements for this course: two research papers and class presentations.