2021-2022 Undergraduate Academic Catalog

IAHIS 2650 Introduction to Museum Studies

Museums have come to play an increasingly significant role in contemporary society. Indeed, by providing a critical lens through which audiences can analyze images and objects, museums help to shape how we perceive our culture and interpret the past. With this in mind, the purpose of this course is essentially four-fold: 1) To study the evolution of art museums in the United States; 2) To examine diverse trends and practices within museums today; 3) To analyze and critique current exhibits of contemporary art and culture; 4) To expose students to professional opportunities within the museum field. This course will begin with a brief history of museum and exhibition display, as well as a consideration of how museums have fulfilled their civic and historical roles over the years. This course will then consider different artistic practices and critical discourses as they pertain to contemporary museums and art institutions. Through visits to the ICA and other museums in the Boston area, students will explore the various factors that impact contemporary exhibit selection, display, and interpretation - including institutional mission, audience demographics, exhibition learning points, museum teaching strategies, and accessibility issues.