Anthropology | Introduction to Museum Studies
A403 | 0448 | Conrad


Anthropology A403 is an introduction to the principles and practices of
museum work.  The course has two interrelated parts, which run
concurrently.  The first part--covered by lectures, class discussions, and
readings--is an overview of the museum profession.  Emphasis is on the
five "functions" of museum: acquisition, conservation, research,
exhibition, and interpretation.  Readings and tours of local museums also
provide an introduction to the history and philosophy of different kinds
of museums.

The second part, interwoven with the first, covers the functions of
museums in a much more "hands-on" way.  At the beginning of the second
week I will be dividing the class into small groups, or teams.  I'll tell
each team that "Your're a museum." and give you a "collection."  Your team
will work together for the rest of the semester.  As is often the case in
real life, your team's initial collection will be a motley set of objects.

Through classroom exercises and written assignments, your job will be to
develop, manage, and use your collection.  You will need to create basic
policies and collections management documents, acquire and deaccession
objects, assess the condition of your collection, conduct research on the
artifacts, and develop plans to use your collection for exhibition and
interpretive programming.  I hope these exercises give you both first-hand
experience with the five functions and a sense of just how interrelated
they are.

Although the course is not restricted to students seeking careers in
museums, it does serve as the first step in the training needed by
aspiring museum professionals.  Students who have completed A403 will be
prepared to enroll in more advanced courses like the Museum Practicum
(Anthropology A408) or Museum Management (Arts Administration Y525) and to
take advantage of other opportunities for experience in museum work.

The course is offered for undergraduate and graduate credit.  There are no
prerequisites; no previous training ro experience is expected.

Course Requirements:  Final grades are based on total points for the
semester.  Please note that a significant portion of your grade will be
based on class participation.  It is important that you do the assigned
readings on time and come to class prepared to contribute to discussions
of the issue.

Undergraduate Credit:

1) Class participation (counts for 15% of course grade)
2) 8 assignments (together count for 65% of course grade).  The first
five assignments count for 5% apiece; the sixth (the Research Report)
counts for 10%; and the last two (the Exhibit and Program Proposals)
count for 15% a piece.
3) Take-home final exam (20% of grade)

Graduate Credit:

1) Class participation (10% of course grade)
2) 7 assignments (together 35%; 5% apiece)
3) Grant proposal project (40%)
4) Take-home final exam (15%)