Course description

This course examines the various roles played by museums in producing narratives about the objects in their collections. Specifically, we consider factors such as geographical location, museum size, and the mission of the museum in determining what objects end up in museum collections and how those objects are then defined by museum professionals, art historians, and museum curators. Most significantly, the course examines the important role played by local and regional museums in preserving works often not viewed as collectable by large, national museums and how collections in these smaller museums have served revisionist histories of art and culture. Although the course focuses primarily on art museums, it also considers the roles of historic houses, anthropology and cultural museums, libraries, and other collecting institutions in preserving cultural objects.

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