Access: Who Should Have It and Why Should We Give It to Them?
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Presented by Monica Huerta, PhD, History of Art
For a number of years the Art Institute of Chicago (AIC) has worked toward becoming a more visitor-centered museum. With the inauguration of its Modern Wing (May 2009), the AIC now faces a whole new set of challenges: primarily, how to utilize a new space and educational area while making its modern and contemporary collections accessible to a broad audience? In this talk, I will draw upon my experiences as an intern in the education department to address the successes and failures of the Modern Wing in promoting visitor access.
“Techiman, Where Culture Is Chief.” Reflections on Culture and Community in a Ghanaian Town
Friday, September 18, 2009
- Henrike Florusbosch, PhD, Anthropology
- Jennifer Beyer, MA, Education
- Anne Compton, PhD Candidate, Anthropology
- Ricky Punzalan, PhD Candidate, Information and Museum Studies
- Raymond Silverman, Director, Museum Studies Program
What does “culture” mean for the citizens of a community in Ghana today? How does one engage the citizens of such a community who see local traditional authority the chief as the custodian of culture in thinking about a more democratic process of (re)presenting culture? How does one engage the citizens of a complex multi-ethnic community who have never thought about sharing their culture with other people in a dialogue about why and how they might present their cultures and heritages to their neighbors and to visitors to their community? This presentation offers reflections on recent collaborative efforts developing Techiman’s first cultural center.
How to Re-create an 1860s German-American Lager-Beer Saloon: A Summer at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum
Friday, October 23, 2009
Presented by Aimee VonBokel, PhD, American Culture
The Lower East Side Tenement Museum uses 97 Orchard Street as a lens to examine the history of tenement life and the immigrant experience on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. John Schneider and his family will be the focus of a new exhibit set to open in November 2010Â—about the German lager-beer saloon they operated in the basement of the building between 1865 and 1886. In this presentation, IÂ’ll describe the research I contributed to the project and the questions that arose in the process: about the forces that determine which stories get told and why.
About Aimee VonBokel
Aimee VonBokel is a PhD student in American Culture and Museum Studies at the University of Michigan.
Let the Walls of History Speak: Constructing European Heritage through the Restoration of Neamt Fortress, Romania
Friday, December 4, 2009
Presented by Luciana Aenasoaie, PhD, Anthropology and History
Since Romania’s accession to the European Union in 2007, heritage restoration projects have become central to the reconstruction of local, national, and transnational history. Drawing on my experience as an intern with the Museum of History and Archaeology of Piatra Neamt, Romania I focus on the restoration of the Neamt Fortress and the way in which heritage sites are consumed by contemporary visitors. In doing so, I will engage with how the final exhibit design was rationalized, the kinds of symbols designers understood to call on a community’s imagined homogeneity, and the way in which various visitors interacted with the Neamt exhibit upon its inauguration in July 2009. For the purposes of this exploration I address practices of community building through the investigation of four central themes: (1) the role of objects in Heritage preservation” exhibits, (2) locating authenticity in the exhibit-audience interaction, (3) the way in which the public is envisaged and addressed through exhibit design, and (4) the implications of present politics in establishing proper stories of the past.
The Empty Vessel Makes the Loudest Sound: New Museology and the Promise of the Non-Collecting Art Institution
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Presented by Andrea McDonnell, PhD, Communication Studies
Can an organization that owns no objects and employs no staff be considered a museum? How can such an organization, “museum” or otherwise, establish a community presence, encourage visitorship, and maintain financial stability? Furthermore, even if it is successful in all of these endeavors, why should such an institution exist at all? This talk will explore the role of the non-collecting art institution, using Ann Arbor’s own Gallery Project as a case study, in order to begin to answer these questions and to reflect on ways in which non-traditional art institutions can encourage innovation in the museum world.
Wrapping Things Up at the Charles Wright Museum of African American History
Friday, January 22, 2010
Presented by Kelly Kirby, PhD, Anthropology
The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History houses more than 30,000 objects and archival materials in its collection. My primary focus as an intern at the Charles Wright was researching, cataloging and re-housing the museum’s textile, quilt and clothing collections. In this brown bag presentation, I will draw from my experiences and contributions to discuss the challenges of representation and display as they relate to interpreting history in the context of this museum.
Creating an Audio Tour on the Development of Writing in the Ancient Near East
Friday, February 19, 2010
Presented by Christine Efta, PhD, Near Eastern Studies
In this brown bag presentation, I will be sharing some of my experiences from my time as an intern at the Oriental Institute Museum in Chicago. One of my projects, for the three months, was to envision and then create an audio tour for the general public focused on the theme of writing in the ancient Near East. I was tasked with selecting the stops for the tour from items that were already in the permanent galleries, researching theories on how writing developed in the region, writing a first draft of the tour, and finally presenting my results for review. My talk will focus on the creative process by walking the audience through several stops on the tour.
These Apples Still Bear Fruit: The Apple Heritage Museum
Friday, April 9, 2010
Presented by J. Amadeaus Scott, MFA student, Art & Design and Museum Studies
This presentation will explore the objects and narratives of the Apple Heritage Museum, investigating the history of apple growing both in general, and specific to Southeastern Michigan. I see this museum as being a space for storytelling and exploring Ann Arbor’s heritage in relation to its agricultural past as told through its apple trees. Beyond being the bearers of fruit, these trees are markers in time and space, and have the potential to reveal much about what Ann Arbor was, what it is today, and how complicated that history and relationship can be.
The Apple Heritage Museum, a permanent collection institution without a permanent location, holds a range of artefacts organized into three distinct era-specific exhibits. One exhibit focuses on objects and stories relating to the early colonial era of apple growing in the region, focusing on the political history of cider in Ann Arbor with the William Henry Harrison presidential campaign. Another exhibit focuses on the shift in apple production from cider-making to the table fruit industry due to the prohibition movement in the early 20th century, and examines the push within the industry to include apples in the diet as a healthful and wholesome food. The final exhibit explores the “˜modern era’ of apple production in the region and considers the proliferation of apple packing plants, distribution systems, apple processing, and the modern apple industry.
The museum’s mission statement is “To germinate a dialogue about the history of Ann Arbor through its apple trees.”
Conferences and Symposia
Translating Knowledge: Global Perspectives on Museum and Community
Writing Local Community Histories in Post-Apartheid South Africa: Reflections on Current Practices and Imagining New Possibilities
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Presented by Noor Nieftagodien, University of Witwatersrand, South Africa
Recently there has been a welcome revival in the production of local community histories, of which the Alexandra Social History Project has arguably been the most ambitious. This paper critically examines the research processes involved in such projects and reflects on the histories they produce. Projects of this kind invariably involve multiple role-players, such as community constituencies, academic historians/researchers and state agencies, each with their interests and agendas that have to be accommodated in the research process. Community groups/researchers often pursue particular political or economic agendas in these projects, which have to contend with the policy objectives of the funders (usually state agencies). This paper discusses how academic historians have navigated these issues by drawing on the experiences of the History Workshop over the past decade.
Community history projects are, of course, also framed by a changing political landscape and a delivery-driven heritage sector with its disproportionate emphasis on promoting tourism, linked to promises of economic benefits for local residents, and the celebration of political leaders, primarily drawn from the ANC. In this context a salient question remains how to change the relationship between academy and the community, and perhaps to generate research processes that are more participatory. Thus, a principal aim of the paper is to examine the possibilities of producing not only alternative histories from the vantage point of the local or community, but also different research processes that would necessarily require a critical engagement with the relationship between the academy and the community.
About Noor Nieftagodien
Noor Nieftagodien is a social historian on the faculty at the University of the Witwatersrand where he is a Senior Lecturer in the History Department and a Senior Researcher in the National Research Foundation program in Local Histories, Present Realities at the University. Following a post-doctoral fellowship, he was named the Deputy Chair of the History Workshop and was a member of Editorial Board of the publication African Studies. With Philip Bonner, Nieftagodien is the co-author of two books, Kathorus: A History (2001) and Alexandra ““ A History (2008). In an addition to these books, he has authored and co-authored many articles and more than ten book chapters, spanning a wide spectrum of topics from Debating “˜race’ in South African scholarship(2001) to Mandela: Street and Home (2006). In addition to his writing, Nieftagodien has spoken widely and has delivered numerous papers addressing diverse facets of the history of apartheid in South Africa.
Networks or Entanglements? Museums and Native American Knowledges
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Presented by Gwyneira Isaac, Arizona State University
Frameworks used to understand indigenous knowledges commonly view them as existing only in a particular place and community. The rapid growth of tribal museums and cultural centers striving to maintain local ways of knowing would support this view, however, these institutions have also played a significant role in negotiating between Native American and Euro-American approaches to knowledge. At the same time, national museums and Native American communities are working together to re-situate the intellectual heritage that is contained in museum collections, thereby negotiating the Euro-American use of indigenous knowledges. In this paper I use two examples from my research in Zuni””the development of the Zuni museum, and the history of the Zuni Ahayu:da created by Frank Hamilton Cushing””to argue the need for the multi-sited ethnography of North American indigenous knowledges. With growing concerns over the threats presented to traditional knowledges, I make the case for the use of frameworks that allow for the cross-cultural analysis of these intersections and institutions, thus giving insight into the complex dynamics of knowledge reproduction, maintenance and trans-cultural collaborations.
Challenging Museum Sustainability: Governance, Community Participation and the Fickle Political Climate in Southern Luzon (Philippines)
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Presented by Ana Maria Theresa P. Labrador, Ateneo de Manila University, Philippines
This is an ongoing study regarding the summoning of indigenous sources in representing distinctive identities found in selected museums in the Philippines. As a contrast to national cultural institutions, those found in communities provide interesting indicators that its members are claiming ownership of museums. They are resisting general or even national narratives that depict Filipinos. Locals are asserting themselves to make visible their identities, histories and aspirations, designating a shift in their positions as stakeholders from passive recipients of cosmopolitan interpretations or invisible groups.
In Manila, meanwhile, the social elites have reclaimed their hold on the cultural life of the city, insisting upon a homogeneous image of the Filipino cast in their mold. Diversity, however, seems to be the key to programs for sustainable museums. A combination of factors has influenced these changes in localities outside the metropolis. This includes political will, government framework, local and international financial support, increasing community value of cultural capital and recognition of human agency. This paper presents a specific example of this dynamic, a case study from southern Luzon, in the main island in the Philippines, where my research project to build a database for a proposed community-based heritage tourism is taking place.
About Ana Maria Theresa Labrador
Ana Maria Theresa Labrador is a social anthropologist and lecturer in Anthropology, Non-Western Aesthetics, Museum Studies and Cultural Heritage Management at Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines. She was previously the head of University of the Philippines’ Vargas Museum and a curator at the Contemporary Art Museum of the Philippines. Since 2003, Labrador has been an Honorary Fellow at the Centre for Cultural Materials Conservation at the University of Melbourne and in 2008 undertook two main research programs in Melbourne examining indigenous conservation practice. Labrador has held multiple editorial positions and lectures widely on museum studies and the aesthetics and theories of non-western art. Recent publications include “Painting Practice in the Philippines: Two Institutionalized Practices and their Materials and Techniques” (co-written with Nicole Tse and Robyn Slogett) in Crossing Cultures: Conflict, Migration, Convergence (2009) and “A Re-Appraisal of the Bulul”, in The Philippines: Early Collections in the Museum fur Volkerkunde (2009).
Open Access versus the Culture of Protocols
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Presented by Howard Morphy, Australian National University
Technology today is enabling indigenous communities, the producers of the objects in ethnographic collections, to reconnect with objects in museums and make them part of their contemporary lives. Indeed it is now recognized that many recent collections of Australian Aboriginal material culture were made partly with this purpose in mind, at least as far as the indigenous producers were concerned. The opportunity exists for the objects to become part of the ongoing societies of today, no longer viewed as the remains of museum cultures.
The digital repatriation of the material record to indigenous communities and their reintegration within the producing societies has brought to the fore the issue of rights and access to the material within the society itself. The process of digital repatriation has resulted in the development of often-complex protocols for managing the information once it arrives in the community. Such protocols are also likely to be enforced at the collecting institutions and in the virtual space of the Internet. Many people who support open access in general will support the imposition of protocols that have the potential to radically restrict access to indigenous collections.
A culture of protocols is developing at places at the interface between indigenous cultures and government and cultural institutions. While well motivated, such sets of protocols can become representations of those cultures to the world and act as constraints on the ways in which members of the society access material as well as on the access of outsiders to the collections. Ironically at the moment when the potential of the relational museum to reconnect people with collections from the past in the present is being realised, there is danger that one kind of museum culture will be replaced by another.
About Howard Morphy
Howard Morphy is Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Research School of Humanities at the Australian National University. After spending ten years as a curator at the Pitt Rivers Museums at Oxford, Morphy moved to the Australian National University in 1997. In addition to extensive fieldwork with the Yolngu people of Northern Australia, Howard has collaborated on several films and has curated many exhibitions at the National Museum of Australia. In 2008 he was one of the organizing committee of the major CIHA conference in Melbourne Crossing Cultures: conflict, migration, convergence. Morphy co-edited two primary source books: The Anthropology of Art: a Reader (2006, with Morgan Perkins) and Rethinking Visual Anthropology (1997, with Marcus Banks). He has written extensively on Australian Aboriginal art with a monograph of Yolngu Art,Ancestral Connections(1991), a general survey Aboriginal Art (1998) and most recently Becoming Art: Exploring Cross-Cultural Categories (2007).
Indigenous Ontologies, Digital Futures: Plural Provenances and the Challenge of Collaborative Museum Documentation
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Museums and Their Communities or Communities and Their Museums
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Presented by Ivan Karp, Emory University
In 1992 I published two essays as part of the edited volume,Museums and Communities: The Politics of Public Culture. At that time it seemed sufficient to characterize the relationships among museums and communities as varied and complex, mediated by the two elements of the civil societies of which they are a part and the complex and often contradictory social identities that museum professionals and members of the museum audience bring to the museum encounter. Since then both the world we live in and our sense of how it works has changed underneath us. While we know that museums have always been global institutions, increasingly salient and contradictory processes of globalization and the development of global cultural institutions have become more and more significant aspects of the environment in which museums operate and live or die. In addition the spread of technology in such fora as data collection, collecting and storage, and exhibition are more and more part of the ways in which museums and communities relate.
This paper rethinks the politics of institution, society and identity as they have been affected by changing social and cultural processes over the last fifteen to twenty years, using as case studies the papers presented at this colloquium. The cases here include colonial museums, changing community museums and studies of how different local communities have made use of museums. The paper examines how these examples can illuminate processes of governmentality, changing identity claims and possible new roles for museums in society.
About Ivan Karp
Ivan Karp is a National Endowment for the Humanities Professor and Director of the Center for the Study of Public Scholarship in the Graduate Institute of Liberal Arts at Emory University. Trained as a Social Anthropologist, Karp has written extensively about African societies, on social organization and social change, social theory, African systems of thought, and museums and society. He was formerly curator of African ethnology at the Smithsonian Institution and is the author of many books and articles on African systems of thoughts, social organizations and social change, social thought, and museums and society and globalization. Karp has co-edited several seminal texts in Museum Studies including Exhibiting Cultures: the Poetics and Politics of Museum Display (1991), Museums and Communities: the Politics of Public Culture (1992) and, most recently, Museum Frictions: Public Cultures/Global Transformations (2006).
Ko Tawa: Where Are the Glass Cabinets?
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
A presentation by Paul Tapsell, Chair in Maori Studies and Dean of Te Tumu, the School of Maori, Pacific and Indigenous Studies at the University of Otago, New Zealand, in the 2010-11Issues in Museum Studies lecture series.
How do we measure an exhibition’s success? Who is ultimately best qualified to judge? When Ko Tawa exhibition project was in its initial design stages, I guided the team I had pulled together to adopt a Maori worldview before committing any lines, words or drawings to paper. Could we design an exhibition to match the expectations of our source communities and in the process bring our urban relations along for the ride? What were their expectations? Would community elders view us as tribally-accountable Maori or young know-it-all museum curators from the city? How could we design a space to display our ancestral treasures””taonga“”that appropriately reflected the philosophy of our people”•the philosophy of whakapapa: the acceptance that all things, all thoughts, all beings are genealogically connected throughout the universe? Could an exhibition capture the past, present and future, from birth to death over 3000 plus years of ancestral voyaging across the largest ocean on the planet? Could we design something that would engage the hearts of young and old, accurately reflecting our identity through the pain of colonisation, our rights to belong, to harvest resources, to engage with the living and farewell the dead? Could an exhibition harness the power of our marae (ceremonial plaza in the village): the place to which we are drawn in life and are laid out in death; where the core business is relationships; where the living ritually engage with the dead who in turn provide guidance to the living? Through audio/visual, narrative and song I hope to share my Ko Tawa journey, drawing out some of the underpinning principles by which indigenous source communities might successfully become co-producers of ancestrally-bounded knowledge within museum contexts.
About Paul Tapsell
Paul Tapsell is the Chair in Māori Studies and Dean of Te Tumu, the School of Māori, Pacific and Indigenous Studies at the University of Otago, New Zealand. Tapsell was the Curator of the Rotorua Museum of Art and History from 1990 to 1994 and has also served as the Māori Director of the Auckland Museum and as an Adjunct Senior Lecturer in Anthropology at the University of Auckland. Tapsell’s research interests include Māori identity in 21st century New Zealand, cultural heritage and museums, Māori values within governance policy frameworks, indigenous entrepreneurial leadership, genealogical mapping of tribal landscapes and Te Arawa historical and genealogical knowledge. The curator of many exhibits and author of numerous articles, Tapsell has published two books: Pukaki: a comet returns (2000) and Ko Tawa: Maori Ancestors of New Zealand (2006).
Locating Culture with/in a Ghanaian Community
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Presented by Raymond Silverman, Director, Museum Studies Program
Techiman is the capital of Bono, Ghana’s earliest state. It is also the site of Ghana’s largest agricultural market. Today, Techiman is a cosmopolitan community comprised of peoples from all over West Africa. Here, “culture” is perceived as Bono heritage and Bono chiefs serve as its custodians.
Roughly ten years ago the Traditional Council of Chiefs of Techiman launched an initiative to create a cultural center to celebrate Bono heritage. It has been a fraught but productive process. The project has evolved to include the multiple heritages of Techiman’s diverse population and to engage members of the community in the planning process. Recent collaborative efforts involving community leaders working with scholars and students from several Ghanaian and Michigan universities have established “heritage dialogues” that encourage the citizens of the town to think about the cultures of Techiman””where are these diverse traditions located and how might they be presented and shared in a new institution that offers a physical place and a social space for the performance and preservation of culture?
The project has profound implications for establishing and sustaining a social and political identity for Techiman, as well as for its constituent communities. The process of creating the cultural center is fostering democratic practice and strengthening civil society in Techiman. This paper explores the dynamics of this collaborative “culturework,” focusing primarily on how engaging a community in thinking about its heritage(s) can serve as a catalyst for social and political change.
About Raymond Silverman
In 2002, Raymond Silverman joined the faculty at the University of Michigan where he is Professor of History of Art and Afroamerican & African Studies, and serves as Director of the Museum Studies Program. Silverman’s research and writing has examined a variety of subjects concerning the movement of material/visual tradition through time and space in Africa, particularly in Ghana and Ethiopia. Most recently he has been exploring “museum culture” in Africa, specifically how local knowledge is translated in national and community-based cultural institutions. In addition to teaching courses in African art history and museum studies, he has curated a number of exhibitions dealing with various aspects of African visual culture.
Communities and Museums. Equal Partners?
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Presented by Sheila Watson, University of Leicester, United Kingdom
This paper explores the ways in which museums attempt to work with communities to produce and interpret knowledge. It focuses on work my former colleagues and I did with a very deprived community in Great Yarmouth in Norfolk, UK. There, over a period of seven years we redisplayed four museums, one ancient monument, ran a community excavation and finally created a completely new museum working collaboratively with community members. The paper examines the ways in which communities articulate their sense of place and use museums to support their self esteem and articulate certain kinds of identities. At the same time it considers to what extent such collaborative work can be more than just a repetition of a traditional pattern of a few people controlling knowledge and understanding, and to what extent a museum can be truly democratic. It looks at issues of ethics and how museums have to deal with conflicting community views and dissonant heritage, in particular how certain interest groups attempt to control meanings and the use of resources in museums. Drawing on ideas of inclusivity and co-operation the paper considers whether certain types of museum collections such as fine art have different meanings for different groups of people and how we can reconcile these. It attempts to open up a dialogue about the practical and ethical issues that face museum practitioners working with communities.
About Sheila Watson
Sheila Watson is a lecturer in the Department of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester. Before joining the faculty at Leicester in 2003, Watson taught secondary school and worked as a Community Museums Officer. As the Area Museums Officer in Great Yarmouth in Norfolk, Watson managed three museums and an art gallery, established a heritage partnership and led the reorganization of all three museums. In her research, Watson looks at the way in which national and local history is used to develop the sense of communities, national, local and regional and how senses of place are created within the museum arena. Currently, Watson’s teaching responsibilities include lectures and workshops on modern museum contexts, enquiry services, museums and communities, intangibles, oral history and reminiscence in the museum. Watson has written and spoken widely on museum education and community building and issues of local identity. She is the editor of Museums and their Communities (2007).
Reversing the Loss of Traditional Knowledge through Museum Collections
Monday, February 22, 2010
Presented by Sven Haakanson, Alutiiq Museum, Kodiak, AK
Many ethnographic collections are artifacts of the colonial era. They hold objects obtained from indigenous peoples at some of the darkest moments in their history ““ the loss of human life and the extinction of practices that accompanied cultural conquest. Yet for communities that wish to reawaken cultural knowledge, such collections offer unique opportunities. They are stores of cultural information that can be unpacked in the modern day to provide instruction and inspiration.
At the Alutiiq Museum and Archaeological Repository, a tribal cultural center in Kodiak, Alaska, Alutiiq people are researching, documenting, and sharing museum collections to connect Alutiiqs with the culture of their ancestors. Today, the Alutiiq Museum is a place where Alutiiqs learn to make, use, and appreciate traditional objects. At the heart of this work are positive collaborations between the Native community and museums. At each museum that cares for ancestral objects, the Alutiiq Museum is sharing cultural information to help curators interpret, care for, and share Alutiiq objects, while working to repatriate cultural knowledge through written and photographic documentation.
These collaborations have built lasting opportunities for cultural understanding. They have also helped Alutiiqs reawaken their culture. Through the museum’s work, Alutiiq objects are regaining their cultural context ““ becoming living objects and not simply artifacts of a distant history. Through the collaborative study of ancestral objects, Alutiiq people are reversing cultural losses, rebuilding their tribal identity, and building cultural pride.
Dr. Haakanson’s visit to the University of Michigan is co-sponsored by the graduate student group, Ethnography-as-Activism.
Issues in Museum Studies
The Social Museum: Online Community-Building and the Future of Museums
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Presented by Matthew Fisher, Founder and President, Night Kitchen Interactive
Join Matthew Fisher, founder and president of the design company Night Kitchen Interactive, for a discussion about the role of social media and interactive installations in realizing the missions of forward-thinking museums. Drawing on over a decade of experience in consulting with museums across the country on the use of technology to reach audiences in innovative ways, Matthew will share his thoughts on the evolution of museums in the 21st century from being visitor-centric exhibition spaces to participatory platforms for dialog, creativity, and even transformation. Matthew will illustrate how Night Kitchen has teamed with museums such as the Smithsonian, SFMOMA, and UMMA, to inspire and engage visitors as participants in lively, collaborative experiences, both online and off.
website:Night Kitchen Interactive
Co-sponsored by UMMA, the U-M Museum Studies Program, and the LSA Museum Theme Year.
Curatorial Decision Making in Times of Change
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Presented by Betti-Sue Hertz, Director, Visual Arts, Yerba Buena Center for Art, San Francisco
An art exhibition is an interpretive act of investigation into meaning and works of art, which depends on the construction of relational structures guided by awareness of art practices and history, culture in general, and the history of exhibition making. One of the challenges for the curator is to present works of art in the best viewing conditions possible and to create a social context for their reception, most often, but not necessarily, within the boundaries of physical space. Exhibitions of contemporary art are under constant dual pressure to appeal to audiences and at the same time strive for historical significance. These pressures are particularly acute as exhibitions are very rarely reconstructed at a later date. Therefore, experiencing an exhibition has a fixed window that while not as limited as a sports event that only happens once, share qualities with “I was there” events. In contrast, most artworks are either complete objects, repeatable, or meant to survive through document. They are designed with longevity in mind and can live in a variety of situations over time. In addition, new technologies of mediated viewership have changed audience expectations when faced with works of art in a gallery or museum environment. Taking all of this into consideration, I will employ exhibitions that I have organized in recent years as case studies for navigating these conditions for current curatorial practice.
Co-sponsored by the Roman J. Witt Visiting Artist-Designer Program and the U-M Museum Studies Program.
Planning Museum Spaces: Gallery Layouts, Exhibition Narratives, and Space-Use
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Presented by Ipek Kaynar Rohloff, PhD Candidate, Architecture and Museum Studies
Museum visitors may base movements on visual cues received from the surrounding environment; these choices can have an important effect on narratives communicated by museum exhibits. This presentation shall explore how museum gallery layout impacts visitor space-use and the narratives communicated by the exhibits.
Examples will be drawn from research conducted at the Yale Center for British Art (New Haven), the Museum of Modern Art (New York), and the High Museum of Art (Atlanta). Special emphasis will be paid to interactions among gallery morphology, exhibition narratives and space use patterns using space syntax analysis methods.
This research was funded in part by the Museum Studies Program Fellowship for Doctoral Research in Museums.
About Ipek Kaynar Rohloff
Ipek Kaynar Rohloff recently earned a Certificate in Museum Studies and a Ph.D. in Architecture at the University of Michigan. She teaches at the Boston Architecture College and the Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston, MA. She also applies her insight and experience as part of her consulting practice (www.kaynar-rohloff.com) with museums and architecture design firms. Dr. Rohloff regularly publishes and speaks at architectural and space-planning conferences.
Collecting Classical Artifacts at the University of Michigan
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Presented by Hima Mallampati, PhD, Interdisciplinary Program in Classical Art and Archaeology
In the vaunted galleries and classrooms of American universities, classical artifacts reshaped the American historical and physical narrative by underscoring the country’s bonds to the democratic city of Athens and the military power of the Roman Republic. Rome and Greece were born anew in America through universities’ possession of classical artifacts, which were not just markers of classical history but became emblems of a reincarnated American past, during the mid-nineteenth through early twentieth centuries. One of the earliest university collections of classical objects and replicas in the United States was at the University of Michigan, which began to display a classical collection in 1856. In this talk, I explore the early history of Michigan’s collection of classical artifacts focusing specifically on objects acquired from Italy by Henry S. Frieze, a Professor of Latin Language and Literature, and his successor, Francis W. Kelsey. Specifically, I analyze how changing legal restraints, economic conditions, and ethical concerns affected the acquisition of classical artifacts at the University. By focusing on diachronic collecting practices, I hope to offer insight into how regional interests intersected with the acquisitions decisions in the academic setting in an effort to broaden our awareness of how and why universities engaged in collecting ancient artifacts. Utilizing a multi-disciplinary approach, my goal is to highlight how acquisitions by universities were entwined with socio-political discourse and how this past discourse has shaped the acquisition of classical artifacts today.
This research was funded in part by the Museum Studies Program Fellowship for Doctoral Research in Museums.
About Hima B. Mallampati
Hima B. Mallampati is a Doctoral Candidate in the Interdepartmental Program in Classical Art and Archaeology at the University of Michigan and a recent recipient of the Certificate in Museum Studies. After earning a J.D. from Stanford Law School, Hima worked at a law firm in New York City on several art law and cultural heritage cases. Her dissertation research analyzes how legal, ethical, and economic developments affected the collecting of ancient artifacts at the University of Michigan and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
Urban Reimaging and Cultural Development: The Cases of the Tate Museums in London, Liverpool, & St. Ives
Thursday, April 1, 2010
Presented by Deirdre Hennebury, PhD, Architecture
During the last century, changing internal and external pressures, including funding, education agendas, and collection acquisition practices, have expanded the responsibilities of museums. In particular, the urban renewal potential of museum, sometimes referred to the “Bilbao Effect,” has been identified as a new, late twentieth century obligation of cultural centers, and in particular, museums. However, an examination of the Tate Museums in London, Liverpool, and St. Ives, England, reveals that the desire to “uplift” and transform the cityscape have been recurring themes since the nineteenth century. In this presentation, the original gallery, established during the “golden age” of museum construction, is contrasted with its postmodern enhancements; additions and extensions whose design and execution coincided with a renewed interest in the signifying power of the past and sensitivity to the urban milieu. A study of the Tate museums’ negotiation of their sites, especially within the contexts of changing fiscal, political and aesthetic climates reveals intriguing continuities and shifts in how a single institution has addressed the challenges of civic and community responsibility in their urban plans.
This research was funded in part by the Museum Studies Program Fellowship for Doctoral Research in Museums.
About Deirdre Hennebury
Deirdre Hennebury is pursuing a Masters in Urban Planning and has fulfilled the requirements for the Certificate in Museum Studies. In addition to her studies, Hennebury has taught in Architecture, Art History and Communication Studies and interned at Cranbrook Art Museum where she co-curated their 2005-06 exhibition, Building Connections: Architectural Dialogues with the collection of Cranbrook Art Museum. Hennebury’s dissertation looks at the Tate Gallery from its origins in the late 19th century through to contemporary developments.
A Good Fit: The Fowler Museum at UCLA and its Commitment to Academia and the Community
Monday, March 15, 2010
Presented by Betsy Quick, Director of Education, UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History
With budget crises looming, some universities are reexamining the roles of their campus collections and museums. Betsy D. Quick, director of education, Fowler Museum at UCLA, will speak to the successful intra-campus collaborations and partnerships that have come to define and distinguish the Fowler Museum’s history. In her presentation she will look at how the Museum’s exhibitions and programmatic agenda have served the university’s teaching mission and at the same time furthered its larger commitment to the community.
About Betsy D. Quick
Betsy D. Quick is the director of education at the Fowler Museum at UCLA where she is responsible for the development of exhibitions, teacher and student services, and public education programs. She has been involved primarily with Non-European projects, especially those pertaining to the arts and cultures of Africa and the Americas. Her major responsibilities lie in the development of interdisciplinary exhibitions and curriculum materials for teachers. Quick is a past president of Museum Educators of Southern California and received her M.A. from UC Berkeley. She has authored a number of publications and articles on the teaching of world arts and humanities; of particular note, are materials produced in conjunction with the museum’s major exhibitions: The Heritage of African Music, Wrapped in Pride: Ghanaian Kente and African American Identity, Sacred Arts of Haitian Vodou, and A Saint in the City: Sufi Arts of Urban Senegal. Under her direction, the Fowler’s education department was awarded a prestigious award by the Los Angeles Unified School District for the outstanding services and resources it makes available for Los Angeles area teachers and students.