Folklore | Museums & Material Culture
F440 | 25816 | Shukla


Meets with F730.  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.