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Public History | Upcoming Courses

HIST 668: Collections Management for Archives and Museums

May 13 – June 26, 2014: Summer Session I

Modality: Combines theory with practice

Course Description: This course is intended to provide an introduction to the basic theories and methodologies of collections management in archives and museums.  Some of the questions this course will attempt to answer are as follows:·  

  • What principles and concepts guide the work of archivists and museum professionals?
  • How are records arranged, described, and made available for use?
  • How are artifacts cataloged and made available for use?
  • What is the impact of new technologies on archives and museums?

Learning Goals:  This course will introduce students to the basic theoretical principles and methodologies and the various practices involved in managing archival and museum collections.This course will demonstrate the importance of organizational and analytical skills in the archival and museum setting.This course will introduce students to the challenges of balancing access and preservation.

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PERF 596: Museum Management

June 30-August 14, 2014, Online Course, Summer Session II

Modality: Combines theory and practice with online class interaction, fieldwork, and case analysis. 

Course Description: Although many management concepts translate easily across the arts, museums present a particular set of problems (and, for starters, not all museums are art museums). This course is ideal for students interested in higher-order issues in museum policy and management. 

The course begins by exploring major issues in museum management as they have evolved over time. It explores the relationship between museums and their audiencesincluding virtual and distance audiences, and the public’s new role as an active participant in museum narratives. The course also explores power relationships in the museum, both hierarchical power (directors, curators, staff and volunteers, for example), as well as modes of representation of dominant and marginalized cultures. In recent times, problems of looting and repatriation have gained increasing importance in some of the nation’s leading museums, making it an essential topic in a course of this nature.

The quest for balance between curating, education and public programs is then addressed, including the problem of reconciling conservation concerns with blockbuster exhibitions. Another area of ethical concern is that of earned income activities in museums – we will pay particular attention to museum shops. The course also includes an exploration of critical issues in capacity building, impact and disaster preparedness. 

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