Prof. Henry ‘Quint’ Gregory, Department of Art History and Archaeology

Students may not earn credit for both HONR208K and HONR209E.

Students and faculty will visit a number of museums—Smithsonian Museums, National Gallery of Art, The Walters—throughout the semester.

This course explores both the future and the history of the museum and its many endeavors to interact with the public, especially the temporary exhibition, the most successful of the museum’s many forms of outreach and education. Through readings, class discussions, visits to museums in Washington and Baltimore and talks by professionals in the fields, students in this class will come appreciate the profound, if somewhat invisible, role played by museums in our cultural and social lives and their power as focusing lenses for our sense of ourselves and of our world.

Students will:

• Understand the history of the museum as both institution and idea

• Appreciate the role of museums as contested cultural space, especially in reference to the culture wars

• Understand the anatomy of the exhibition and its power to reinforce or upset social norms and ideas

• Weigh in the balance a museum’s mission and its need for support

• Have engaged in rich and informed speculation about the future of The Museum

Assignments include:

• short comparative analysis writing assignments;

• writing a review of an exhibition (student’s choice of) in the Baltimore-Washington area;

• developing and presenting an exhibition proposal;

• engaging in a re-visioning of selected permanent exhibitions in area museums;

• and a final essay exam.

Readings include:

A steady diet drawn from dailies such as the NYT

Carol Duncan, “The Museum as Ritual”

Stephen Greenblatt, “Resonance and Wonder”

Selections from Timothy Luke, Museum Politics: Power Plays at the Exhibition

Selections from Nina Simon, The Participatory Museum

Introduction, David Dernie, Exhibition Design