Anthropology | Exhibiting Cultures: Museums, Exhibitions and Worlds' Fairs
E600 | 0484 | Girshick


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.