Museum Management MSMS-GA 1502 Warwick. 4 points.
This course provides an overview of management, finance, and administration for those aspiring to managerial and supervisory positions in museums. Topics to be covered include mission; leadership and strategic planning; governance and institutional policy; organizational structure and the roles and relationships of museum departments; operational issues, including security and disaster planning; museum finance, including operating and capital expense budgeting; fundraising; and marketing and branding. Case studies taken from New York City museums will be analyzed, and all topics will be placed in the context of how museum staff best deliver programs, and serve their public communities most effectively.
Conservation and Collections Management MSMS-GA 2222 Bannayan. 4 points
As an introduction to museum conservation and collections management, this seminar combines
classroom discussion and museum visits to provide an understanding of the material concerns and underlying values that drive collections care decisions. It is designed to give students the tools to think critically about collections management and conservation processes. The seminar covers many core functions of museum practice, from acquisition, exhibition, and storage to disaster preparation and recovery. It includes preventive conservation measures to manage the museum environment and technical research to date and authenticate museum objects. The seminar also addresses concerns of living artists, indigenous groups and others with claims to the disposition and care of cultural materials. Course readings cover the historical and philosophical values that shape the field of conservation, and technical information needed to make conservation and collections management decisions. Students perform condition assessments, and conduct research leading to short writing assignments and a term paper.
Museums and the Law MSMS-GA 2220-001 Gleason. 4 points.
Legal issues pervade so many aspects of the world of museums. The law can both constrain and enable the behavior of museum staff, administration, and others who work with these cultural organizations. Therefore, it is difficult to work in, for and with museums without some training in or familiarity with the law. In this course, we will examine how museums are affected by a variety of legal regulations, including cultural heritage legislation, intellectual property issues, such as copyright, trademark and moral rights, first amendment and censorship claims, work-place hazards, contracts, and nonprofit and tax laws, such as valuation, charitable transfers, payments in lieu of taxes and the unrelated business income tax. Readings will consist of case law and secondary sources detailing the most pressing legal issues facing different types of museums, and group discussions will be supplemented by mock case studies and negotiation exercises.
Art Exhibition History after 1960 MSMS-GA 2227.001 Altshuler. 4 points.
This seminar will investigate the history of exhibitions and various approaches to the study of exhibition history. The focus will be on art exhibitions after 1960, with an emphasis on group exhibitions. Among the topics to be discussed are the significance of exhibitions within art and cultural history, the notion of an exhibitionary canon, the relationship between artworks and exhibition practice, and the major developments of this period. These developments include the growth of independent curating and new curatorial strategies, an increasing focus on thematic exhibitions, the expansion of biennials outside the Euro-American centers, and the use of discursive forms. Students will present the results of research on a particular exhibition or series of exhibitions, and submit a final paper on that topic.
Museums and Political Conflict MSMS-GA 2226.001 Feldman. 4 points.
In contemporary Museum Studies, it is often said that museums are inherently political institutions. But how do politics actually happen in museums? What has "politics" meant for key exhibitions and collections and what avenues of political theory emerge from the museum in general? In this seminar, we will move beyond the general to examine how specific political concepts took shape in historic exhibitions and museum practices from the 1930s to the present. As such, our challenge will be twofold. On the one hand, we will consider how political movements have used the museums as an implement for advancing power and influence. On the other hand, we will consider how museum practices have "taken up" various kinds of politics: how museum objects and officials have engaged and advocated the agendas and outcomes of political parties, governments, policies, revolutions, and elections. Case studies will include: Degenerate Art (1937), Paris World Exhibition (1937), Rivera's "Man at the Crossroads" (1934), The Guggenheim Museum (1959), Yad Vashem (1965), Harlem on my Mind (1969), The Perfect Moment (1990), The Last Act (1994), The Jewish Museum of Bologna (1998), Sensation (1999), The Apartheid Museum (2001), Holocaust Cartoons (2006), among others. Through these case studies, students will examine the museum's role in the public sphere and the process whereby exhibitions contribute to-- or undermined--key aspects of deliberative democracy.
Exhibition Planning and Design MSMS-GA 3332 Gallagher. 4 points.
This course focuses on the planning, development and design of exhibitions, permanent, temporary and traveling. It is a participatory class where students learn basic exhibition design techniques, including spatial layouts and the use of graphics, audio-visual aids, lighting, colors, materials, and fabrication methods. Students gain insight into exhibition planning and development and the roles played by various museum professionals. There are visits to designers to discuss their work and to museums and other venues to analyze exhibition design techniques. Individual student projects provide hands-on experience.
TOPICS IN MUSEUM STUDIES
Topics in Museum Studies: Digital Frictions-Museum Accessibility and Digital Design. 3330.001 Flouty. 4 points
This class examines the potential for museums to embrace multi-modal ways to make experiences and collections accessible through digital design and new technologies. Several classes will co-facilitated with NYU’s Ability Lab, an interdisciplinary research space dedicated to the intersection between disability and technology located at NYU’s Tandon campus. Students will learn about accessible alternative formats, sonification, haptic technologies, and the creation of visual descriptions supported by open-source, cloud-hosted toolkits. We will also examine both strategies and failures employed by museums to design for individuals with diverse motor, cognitive, sensory and behavior-emotional abilities.
This is a project-based class with required museum visits. Students will complete two project assignments: a) the re-design of a museum map using tactile graphics applications and b) a prototype for the design and implementation of a selected museum object so that it becomes accessible beyond the bounded regions of a visual field. Museum class visits to the Intrepid Museum and the Cooper-Hewitt to meet with museum access professionals, as well as studio visits with interactive designers based in New York City, will complement the course.
Topics in Museum Studies: Spirit(ual) Collections—Magic, Science, and Religion in Museums 3330.002. Franz. 4 points
This course looks at museums and their collections of religious, spiritual, scientific, and magical materials. This will involve addressing various aspects of museum labour, including collection practices, preservation, curation, and classification. The class will engage the intellectual histories that created categories such as the fetish, the icon, the idol, and the totem. The course will look at how museums deal with ritual practices, hauntings, and immortality. As a group, we will work with a diverse selection of case studies to explore how different museums and cultural sites are caring for these objects. Through this investigation, we will consider more broadly the epistemic and ontological systems within museums that shape how we understand religious, spiritual, scientific and magical materials.
Topics in Museum Studies: Decolonizing Museums (Full Title: Decolonizing and Reassembling the Museum: A New Anthropology of Museums) MSMS-GA 3330-003. Anderson. 4 points
Ethnographic and universal museums are increasingly in crisis. Critical questions about how such museums came to hold their collections, and the colonial conditions of their accumulation are being asked alongside other concerns for appropriate display, collection management and community engagement. Through a lens where decolonization is understood as a call for ethical and equitable transformation of the museum, its objects and its ‘subjects’, this course explores “the museum” as a site of ethnographic inquiry itself, examining it as a social institution embedded in a broader field of cultural heritage that is perpetually under negotiation. We reflect on how museum principles of classification, practices of collection and exhibition, uptake of media, technology, and archiving have influenced the ways in which knowledge has been formed, presented, and represented; and interrogate the role of museums as significant social actors in broad anthropological debates on power, materiality, value, representation, culture, nationalism, circulation, aesthetics, science, history, and “new” technologies. The movement to decolonize the museum is only increasing and in this course we will explore what this means at a theoretical and practical level with a focus on how the museum can respond and indeed transform for the future.
Topics in Museum Studies: Debates, Challenges, and Collaborations in Art Museum Curating. 3330.005. Basilio. 4 points.
In this seminar we will examine the historical development of the role of the modern art museum curator, as well as practical and ethical challenges. Among the topics to be considered are: museum curating and canon formation, efforts to reactivate permanent collections through re-hangings, working with new or renovated buildings; collaborations with registrars, conservators and other colleagues; ethical aspects of working with artists; and issues related to museum fundraising and the art market. Inter-cultural issues such as the development of international branch museums; Latin American and Non-Western art collecting and exhibiting will be discussed. Current exhibitions in New York area will be used as some of the case studies and museum visits are required for the course assignments. There will be extensive historical and recent readings in the fields of museum studies, art history, and the history of exhibitions; as well as texts by curators, museum directors, artists, and critics. Although we will refer to exhibitions in the New York are in several lectures, you are encouraged to discuss museums outside the city and the US in class and in your assignments.
Note that in some of my class presentation case studies, I draw on my own professional experience and academic areas of specialization: Spanish and Latin American art.
Topics in Museum Studies: Science, Art, and Invisible Objects (full titleTopics in Museum Studies: Science, Art, and Invisible Objects in Natural History Museums from the Enlightenment to Present). 3330.006. Ayers. 4 points.
Dinosaurs, birds of paradise, planetary eclipses, transitory facial expressions, bodily interiors: over the last few hundred years, natural historians have engaged with scientific and artistic methodologies to try to visualize and translate objects that have otherwise evaded the human hand and eye. Natural history and anatomical collections, from the private Wunderkammern of the early modern period to the AMNH’s award-winning Hall of Biodiversity, have consistently struggled with the politics and poetics of representing objects without names, immaterial objects difficult to describe, and objects that, in fact, never existed at all. Using these “invisible objects” as our entry point over the course of the semester, we will trace the rise and fall of private and public natural history and anatomical collections from the Enlightenment to the present. Ranging from so-called monsters to rotting plants and stars, we approach the history of museums by investigating how the contentious categories of science and art have worked together (and sometimes at odds) to make visible objects that have eluded collection, classification, preservation, and display.
Research in Museum Studies (MSMS-GA 3915.001) 1-4 points.
Independent research on a topic determined in consultation with the program director.
Internship (MSMS-GA 3990) Required of all MA and Advanced Certificate candidates. Flouty. 2 points.
M.A. and Advanced Certificate students spend a minimum of 300 hours over one or more semesters in a project-oriented internship at a museum or other suitable institution. Students nearing completion of course prerequisites (MSMS-GA 1500, MSMS-GA 1501, and MSMS-GA 1502) must schedule a planning meeting with the Program's Internship Coordinator. A daily log, evaluations, and progress report are required. Students must earn a grade of B or better to receive the M.A. or Advanced Certificate. Further information is available in the Internship Guidelines Packet.