Museum Studies Workshop

This workshops asks students to work in groups of 2-3 students to view and analyze the curatorial choices evidenced in one or more selected permanent collection displays at a local museum (in this case, the de Young Museum). Students are given the choice of which galleries on which they will focus their study, and are all given a worksheet with the same questions to focus their attentions. The instructor circulates throughout the museum checking in on student progress and discussing findings with them over a period of approximately 90 minutes. At the end of this time, everyone meets at the museum café over coffee for 30-45 minutes to discuss findings. Students sit at tables of four with three students, each from a different group. This ensures new perspectives in the group discussions, because the students will have all been working earlier with different partners, often in different galleries, on different materials. Read more ...


Group Visual Description/Analysis Wiki Exercise

Students collaborate and compete in small groups of 4-5 students each over 2 weeks’ time in editing and improving upon a short 275-word student-written visual description (or analysis) of a work of art using wikis. The wiki format allows students to see how their peers change and improve upon (or worsen) the texts in real time, and forces them to weigh why a fellow student might make changes to existing text (and whether or not s/he has improved it or not, and why). The competition, which usually consists of 4-6 groups in my lecture classes, has been described by students as fun and motivating, and useful in helping them to weigh what constitutes a strong visual description/analysis, and in improving their own writing. This is likely because the stakes are low (nothing is graded), everyone must make changes and participate in the wiki (and there is peer pressure to do so), students work in teams but also individually on the wiki (thus appealing to both collaborative and individual learning styles), and the “winning” team (which is awarded extra quiz points) is ultimately selected by the students themselves. Read more ...


Neighborhood Case Studies

Encourage a combination of experiential learning and library research by assigning a neighborhood case study. Read more ...


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