Public programs facilitate dialogue between academics and professionals, informing scholarship and strengthening practice.

Multiple day conferences, year-long colloquia, individual lectures, “conversations” between individuals, hands-on workshops, and Museums at Noon talks featuring our graduate students all contribute to the remarkable richness of MSP offerings.

Video recordings of some MSP lectures are archived for viewing in our Media Gallery.

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Object Lessons: Recollecting Museum Histories at Michigan

October 13, 2017 @ 9:00 am - December 30, 2017 @ 5:00 pm

Curated by Kerstin Barndt in collaboration with Richard Barnes and Amanda Krugliak, with original commissioned artwork by Richard Barnes

The history of the modern research university is unthinkable without collecting. At the University Michigan, the first objects brought to campus in the late 1830s 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. Museum specimens, artifacts and documents from the archives bring into focus the University Museum’s importance to early state history, its first global collecting expeditions, the changing relationship between culture and nature, science and religion; and the transformation of research and collecting practices from the nineteenth to the twenty-first centuries. Not all of U-M’s historical collections survive; the exhibition reflects this fact by focusing also on the life cycle of collections, on points of origin and decline, and on the shifting valorization of objects over time.

Object Lessons draws on collections housed in the University’s research museums (Paleontology, Zoology, and Anthropological Archeology), as well as the University Herbarium, the Museum of Natural History, the Stephen S. Clark Map Library, the Stearns Collection of Musical Instruments, the Bentley Historical Library, and the University of Michigan Library.

More information can be found here.



October 13, 2017 @ 9:00 am
December 30, 2017 @ 5:00 pm
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