Folklore | Museums & Material Culture
F440 | 2550 | Shukla


This class analyzes the complex relationship between human beings and
the material world they inhabit and create, in order to better
comprehend the institution of the museum.  An understanding of
material culture helps us view how makers, users and viewers relate
to objects in homes, commercial establishments and eventually, in
museums.  One of the principle aims of this course is to look at the
museology of everyday life, in other words, how the general museum
principles of collection, preservation and exhibition are found in
all the environments we occupy.

We will of course focus the class on the museum itself, looking at
museums as institutions in a process of continual negotiation of
different objectives: object collection and research, object
preservation, exhibition, education, and entertainment.  Through
readings and lectures, we will be introduced to different kinds of
museums, including art, ethnographic, historic, as well as the
museums of particular interest to folklorists, namely outdoor
museums, folk art museums, and folk festivals.
The aim of this course is three-fold: to read and discuss critically
the literature on material culture and museology, to analyze local
museum exhibitions, and to produce a creative proposal of an
exhibition.  The assignments for the class include museum visits and
exhibition reviews, as well as a final project consisting of an
exhibition proposal, complete with sample labels, exhibit walk-
through, list of all the objects, photos and other multi-media
supporting materials, as well as related public programs and
educational materials.

Fulfills a COAS Arts and Humanities, Traditions and Ideas
distribution requirement.