M200 | 29073 | Vallance

Overview: Taught by a long-time museum educator, this course
explores the meanings and uses of both ordinary and special objects
as displayed in museum settings, retail spaces, private homes, and
disjointed locations such as yard sales and recycling centers.
Objects now in museums have had numerous past lives, evolving from
treasured new possessions to objects of daily use to prized
heirlooms and beyond; other objects, not (yet) celebrated behind
glass at museums, also have tales to tell about their uses, cultural
significance, meanings in personal biographies, and uses as
historical artifacts embodying all of these qualities.   This course
explores our reactions to objects in varying settings and their
implications for getting the most out of museum visits (and
shopping!), understanding our own possessions’ values, and using the
things of everyday life
in teaching in both K-12 and museum settings.

Schedule:  Assignments and Monday class sessions will develop a
framework for interpreting objects as background to regular
Wednesday field trips.
Wednesday visit sites may include these stops along the life cycles
of “things”:    Mathers Museum of World Cultures,  Monroe County
History Center, Wylie House, downtown shop windows, Target,
Bloomington Goodwill store, the IU Art Museum, and others.
Appropriate for a variety of major fields, the class has space for
14 this fall.

Assignments include reading notes, regular museum visit worksheets,
personal essays responding to objects in selected sites, diary
entries (from students’ and objects’ points of view), a research
paper on one or more objects, and other explorations of everyday
objects.  Class discussion and active participation will be
Carpooling for off-campus sites will be arranged during the first

The instructor:  Prof. Vallance was Director of Education at The
Saint Louis Art Museum for 15 years, and taught Museum Education at
Northern Illinois University before coming to IU in 2006.  At the
Museum, she worked often with the “decorative arts” collections of
formerly-everyday objects, in programs for adults, families, K-12
teachers, and special populations.  Now on the Art Education faculty
in IU’s School of Education, she works regularly with the “meanings
of objects” in her courses.

Contact her with any questions:

This course substitutes for M135 or N110 for Elementary Education
majors, and substitutes as an Art History requirement for Art
Education majors.  Can be elective for other majors.

Monday & Wednesday, 11:15-12:30
Wright Education Bldg and area museums