Oct 12 – “Object Lessons” Gallery Talk & Reception

Thursday, October 12 at 5:30 pm in the Museum of Natural History: “Object Lessons: Recollecting Museum Memories at Michigan” gallery talk and reception with curators Kerstin Barndt & Amanda Krugliak & photographer Richard Barnes


The history of the modern research university is unthinkable without collecting. At the University of Michigan, the first objects brought to campus in the late 1830’s included a piece of copper from the Upper Peninsula, bird skins, an Anishinaabe canoe and pressed plants. Today’s collections encompass over 25 million specimens and artifacts. As the last exhibition before the closing of the Natural History Museum in the Ruthven Museums Building, Object Lessons activates the memory of the museums building and richly illustrates the University of Michigan’s lasting effort to build collections in support of its academic mission and for the public. Showcasing original objects dating from 1837 to the present, Object Lessons affords visitors a synthetic look at 200 years of collecting for science.

Exhibition runs October 13December 30, 2017

Kerstin Barndt is Associate Professor of German and Museum Studies at the University of Michigan where she teaches European and US museum history and theory as well as twentieth and twenty-first century German literature and culture. Together with Carla Sinopoli, she co-edited the book Object Lessons and the Formation of Knowledge. The University of Michigan Museums, Libraries, and Collections 1817–2017.


A visual and performance artist, Amanda Krugliak serves as the art curator at the U-M Institute for the Humanities.


The exhibition features photography and sculpture by New York-based artist Richard Barnes that engages with specimens, taxidermy, and tools from the collections. Staging these images and sculpture in today’s campus museum spaces, Barnes offers an aesthetic reflection of the histories on display. A recipient of the Rome Prize, Barnes has had solo exhibitions of his work at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, the Carpenter Center at Harvard University, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and the Cranbrook Art Museum, among others.


The Museum of Natural History is a partner for Object Lessons, providing institutional support and serving as the host of the exhibition in the rooms of the former Ruthven Museums Library. The project has received generous funding from the University of Michigan Bicentennial Office, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, U-M Office of Research, MCubed, the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures, the Institute for the Humanities, and the Museum of Natural History.


Details about the exhibit can be found here.