The DeVault Teaching Gallery

The DeVault Teaching Gallery is an experimental and flexible teaching space within the Mathers Museum of World Cultures. This space allows for the short-term use of artifacts for instruction, inspiration, and experimentation, and is designed for the exploration of objects in adventuresome yet secure ways.

The space includes one six meter glass fronted case, with the option to bring in smaller cases if necessary. When artifacts are installed in these cases they are generally placed without any interpretive text, and artifact ID labels may or may not be placed depending on the intended usage. Gallery use is reserved on a first come, first served basis. Artifacts may be exhibited for as little as one or two days or as long as several weeks depending on the reservation schedule of the space and the objects being exhibited.

Potential ways to use the DVG
While the objects can be used in a wide variety of applications, several broad categories of assignments commonly used in museums have been identified (Lynch, Alison Barnes and D. Ryan. "From the classroom to the museum: understanding faculty-designed assignments in an academic museum." Museum Management and Curatorship, 2012: 487-503.):
1. Observation and interpretation: Observation and interpretation assignments are scalable in depth and difficulty and are easily organized. For example, the assignment may ask the student to observe the object and make various inferences about its purpose, origin, etc., or it could be more basic and ask students to write highly detailed descriptions of the object.
2. Analysis and synthesis: Assignments in this category vary, but generally ask students to apply course content to conduct an in-depth analysis of an object.
3. Research: While more time-consuming and difficult than the previous types of assignments, object based research can be done. Object-based research assignments build on the previous categories of observation and analysis, and may involve the use of outside resources (e.g. books, collections at other museums) in order for students to draw more concrete conclusions about an artifact.
4. Organization: While it is not possible for students to physically reorganize or organize an exhibit (unless they are taking ANTH-A408 in Exhibits), it is possible for students to reimagine the exhibit and devise different organizational structures that could be employed.

Example: Dr. X has requested a selection of African textiles be exhibited. The textiles include a variety of decorative techniques, time periods, and uses. Students are asked to visit the museum on their own and write a short response paper that requires the students demonstrate appropriate understanding of the decorative techniques and materials they've been studying, and what time periods the objects might be from based on the techniques and materials observed.

Our staff is pleased to work with you on new ways to use the DeVault Teaching Gallery or to conduct research on the efficacy of Teaching Gallery use.

How to request use of the DeVault Teaching Gallery
Contact Sarah Hatcher, Head of Programs and Education, at 812-855-0197 or

Mathers Museum of World Cultures Tours
Guided, curriculum-based tours of the Mathers Museum are available by request. These can be scheduled by emailing Sarah Hatcher, Head of Programs and Education, at or calling 812-855-0197. She will work with you to design tours to address the specific content that you wish to address during your time at the museum.

Past tours have included the following topics: What is Culture?; Musical Instruments; Identity and Dress; Multicultural Education in the Museum; Place-based Learning; Politics of Representation; Museums and Culture; Work; Gender; Food; Retail Merchandising Methods; and more.

Our exhibits change on a regular basis and we are always happy to walk through the exhibits with you to discuss your ideas, concerns, or needs. Please visit our exhibits page for information about our current exhibits.