Museum Studies Travel Grant for MA Thesis Research (Fall 2016)

In the Fall of 2016, the Program in Museum Studies inaugurated the Research Travel Grant for MA students at the thesis writing stage of their degree. The grant committee was happy to be able to fund travel research for five different travel projects. The grant recipients include:
Tirzah Jane Baker, Alternative Art Space to Museum, An Evolutionary Analysis: MoMA Ps1 and the Mattress Factory Museum of Contemporary Art;
Joana Valsassina Heitor, The Architecture Exhibition as a Spacial Argument;
Kathryn Tully Johnson, Occupying the Gallery: Preparing Institutions for Unsanctioned Events;
Youxuan (Karen) Li, Next to Burberry a Monet: Shopping Malls as Exhibitionary Complexes in Postmodern China;
Sara Mauldin Lowenburg, A Space to Heal: Programs Supporting Health and Community among Veterans with PTS and TBI in Museums.

Anthropology in and of Museums course (Spring 2015, Dr. Sabra Thorner)

In the Spring of 2015, the Anthropology in and of Museums class, led by Dr. Sabra Thorner, developed a formal, academic review of the Journal of Western Archives (2015) special issue on Native American archives. A central component of students' assessment for the class, this collaboration was a way of extending students' learning on the complexity on Indigenous peoples' relationships with collecting institutions (including museums, libraries, and archives); as well as their thinking about the significance and urgency of digital repatriation and return. Participants included: Caitlin Gilroy, Hannah Hoose, Juliana Larrosa, and Jon Stachiw from Museum Studies; and Olivia Vincelli and Kendra Welsh from the Draper Program. Read the review here:

Guantanamo Public Memory Project (Fall 2012)

In the Fall of 2012, NYU students in Museum Studies, Public History, and Latin American and Caribbean Studies joined over 100 others from 12 universities around the country to create the Guantanamo Public Memory Project. The Project sought to raise public awareness of the long history of the US Naval base at Guantanamo Bay and foster dialogue on the future of this place, its people, and its policies. Students collaborated with their peers in other communities and with people who experienced GTMO directly to curate a traveling exhibit, digital history, and interactive map. The exhibit opened in the Kimmel Windows December 13, 2012, and is scheduled to travel around the country through 2015 to venues such as the Minnesota History Center and the California Museum of Photography. NYU students were also trained in dialogue design and facilitation by leaders of the New York Council of the Humanities' Community Conversations program, and developed dialogue kits that each new host of the exhibit can use to facilitate discussion in their community. Throughout the process, students helped each other grapple with the museological challenges of the Project by exchanging ideas and perspectives with other schools through the Project's blog and through video conferences. NYU students in Abu Dhabi and Buenos Aires will participating in future phases of the Project over the next two years.

NYC Department of Sanitation Oral History Archive (Spring 2011)

Museum Studies students were part of the founding of the NYC Department of Sanitation Oral History Archive which was formally launched on May 11, 2011. As part of a class entitled Oral History, Labors of Waste, and the Value of Knowledge, taught by Prof. Robin Nagle, students created a digital archive of oral histories of DSNY employees and were trained in oral history theory, method and practice. This builds off of a previous class, also taught with museum studies (Dr. Haidy Geismar & Dr. Robin Nagle, Fall 2007), which began recording Sanitation histories and experiences. The archive can be accessed here:

Grey Art Gallery exhibition commemorating the Centennial of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire (Fall 2010)

In the fall of 2010, Museum Studies and Public History MA students worked collaboratively with the Grey Art Gallery to curate an exhibition commemorating the Centennial of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire. On March 25, 1911, a fire broke out in the Asch Building which is now known as the Brown Building, part of New York University‚Äôs Silver Center complex. The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory was located on the 8th floor, and the fire prevented access to the stairway, though some got through. Others climbed out the windows; many leapt to their deaths. In all, 147 young women garment workers perished, mostly daughters of the Jewish families from the nearby Lower East Side, but many also were from Italian families. APH and Museum Studies students worked collaboratively with two instructors: Dr. Marci Reaven, an urban historian and Director of City Lore/Place Matters; and Dr. Lucy Oakley, Head of Education and Programs at the Grey Art Gallery. Students conducted research on the exhibition, worked with exhibition planners and designers in order to curate and create the show, and had the opportunity to participate in the actual installation.  Students researched the event, focusing especially on the ways in which the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire has been remembered, commemorated and, in some cases, forgotten over time. They worked in archives and museums in New York City to select artworks and other materials for the show. They wrote the exhibition and publicity texts and were active in co-curating the exhibition. Students immersed themselves in the theoretical literature involving memorialization, commemoration, and visual culture. The exhibition was on view from January 11 through March 26 and from April 12 through July 9, 2011, and was accompanied by numerous public programs throughout the university and beyond. Museum Studies students also assisted in the construction of a permanent memorial in the Brown Building, on the former shirt of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory.


To read about student experiences in this class and exhibition, please visit a blogpost created by Alana Rosen: To read about other NYU projects commemorating the Centennial of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, please follow this link to the Campus History section of the NYU Alumni Magazine:

The Challenge of Installation Art (Spring 2010)

Students in Glenn Wharton's seminar on The Challenge of Installation Art (Spring 2010) interviewed artists William Kentridge and Paul Chan as part of their course research. Dr. Wharton is the time-based media conservator at MoMA as well as being on faculty in Museum Studies. He frequently works with students on research he is engaged with at the museum. The artist interviews coincided with a current exhibit of William Kentridge at MoMA, and the recent acquisition of archival materials from Paul Chan's staging of Waiting for Godot in post-Katrina New Orleans. Chan was interviewed about the translation of a street theater project into a museum installation.