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AMST1550 Methods in Public Humanities Spring 2013

Prof. Steven Lubar Teaching Assistant: Ashley Bowen-Murphy Class Meeting: MWF 11:00 Barus & Holley 157 Office: Brown Center for Public Humanities (Nightingale-Brown House) Office hours Monday 1-3; make an appointment or email for other times Contact: This course provides a survey of public humanities work, including cultural heritage preservation and interpretation, museum collecting and exhibition, informal education, and community cultural development. It also includes an overview of the contexts of that work in nonprofit organizations: management, trusteeship, and development.

AMST1550 focuses on the work that public humanists do: techniques, concerns, and practical issues. Well look at what happens behind the scenes in museums and other cultural organizations in order to understand how the people who work there make decisions about content, interpretation, and presentation. We will try to understand and appreciate the work that public humanists doas well as to question some of their assumptions and techniques. And we'll carry out projects to apply what we learn to real-world settings. The course is organized into four parts. Part 1 addresses the fundamental question in any discussion of cultural heritage: whats worth saving, whats worth remembering, and why? How do we as individuals and as communities decide what we want to keep? What is the role of the expert in that process? Part 2 considers the ways in which the things we save and remember are interpreted, presented to the public. Part 3 considers civic engagement, and Part 4, the institutions that do this preserving and presenting. In general, Mondays class is a lecture; Wednesday, sometimes a lecture, sometimes a discussion; Friday, a focus on course projects. In the discussion, well talk about the material in the lectures, and also the readings. You should read the assigned weekly reading early in the week. Additional readings of interest are listed on the syllabus as well. The readings are on reserve at the Rockefeller Library or on the librarys reserve site (OCRA): the password is jnbc. Many are also at the JNBC library. Over the course of the semester, you should keep up with web sites, blogs, twitter feeds, and newspaper stories on public humanities and cultural heritage. Everyone in the class is expected to be on twitter, and to post ideas, thoughts and links to sites of interest using the hashtag #amst1550. It's also a good idea to follow me on twitter, @lubar, and to browse my blog occasionally. You might want to establish your own blog to post your work to, or to use Canvas's eportfolio tool to save all of your papers. The course looks at methods, the art of getting things done. The assignments reflect this. Youll write letters and memoranda, presenting guidance to a boss about what should be done, and why. Youll work in teams for some of these, which are real projects, with real customers. If your work is done well, it may find a public audience. Your grade is based on three writing assignments (10 percent each), a final group project (two memorandums outlining your progress, a final report, and the work itself: 60 percent), and class participation (10 percent).

AMST1550 Assignments
Assignment 1. One-page memorandum arguing for one of Weils 21 ways to buy art. 200 word letter to the editor of the local paper, and a tweet. Due 2/6 You are the assistant to the executive director at the small Midwestern art museum described by Stephen Weil in his article. Choose one of the 21 ways to buy art that Weil outlines and write a 2-page memorandum arguing for collections policy. Summarize the issues, the alternatives, and provide your rationale for your choice. Explain why it is the right choice for the museum; its not enough simply to say why you prefer it. Conclude with practical advice. What should be done? Who should be involved in the discussions leading to a decision, and what process should be followed? Include a 200-word letter to the editor of the local newspaper, to be signed by the director, or alternatively, a post for the organizations blog. Finally, summarize it all into a tweet: 140 characters. Advice on memo-writing available here.

Assignment 2: Exhibit Panels for Browns 250th Anniversary Due 3/12 Jane Lancaster is writing a new history of Brown University. Shes completed a draft. Your assignment is to take one chapter of the book and turn it into one panel of an exhibition. The panel is already designed, and your words and images must fit into it. You need to write a 10-word title, 250-word main label; choose a single background image and three other images (you will need to do some picture research; images are easily available at the Archives Images of Brown and the Brown Daily Herald Archives site), and write 20-50 word labels for each; pick one quote of no more than 20 words; and pick three points for a timeline and write 10 words for each. Turn in your assignment as a single PowerPoint or Keynote slide; extra points for good design. This assignment is peer-graded; (I'll grade it as well.) Use the rubric to analyze the exhibition panel. Offer suggestions and recommendations about text, images, and anything else that you think will improve the panel.

Assignment 3: Community Engagement and Local History Draft due 4/10 Write a 3-4 page memorandum to either the director of the Providence Preservation Society, the director of the Rhode Island Historic Society, or the director of the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, describing recent developments in community memory, oral history, and intangible heritage, and setting out a program for his or her organization to follow to expand into these areas. Be convincing: explain why this is a good idea. Cite the literature weve read in class. Do some research on the organization you choose so that you can argue from present mission, audience, collections, and expertise. Give some examples of other organizations that have done a good job of collecting and presenting this material. Spell out a specific plan of areas to collect, ways to use the material, and audiences that it will attract. (Extra credit: prepare a rough budget, with staffing and costs, and suggest potential granting agencies or foundations that might be interested in funding the project.)

AMST1550 Projects
Your participation in a group project accounts for 60 percent of your grade. Listed below are several projects to choose from. Well drop the projects that dont draw enough interest. We will begin these projects in February. Each project group should meet with me several times over the course of the semester. Each project will use BASECAMP to keep track of who does what, schedule, and deliverables. Learning to use BASECAMP, the most widely used project management tool, is part of the course. Each project group is responsible for these deliverables: About 3 weeks into the course: o Basecamp set up for project o Project memo 1: 2-3 pages: describe the project; list contacts made to date; describe the way the group is organized, schedule, and (in a few cases) budget) o Project presentation 1: PowerPoint; one slide per item above, 10 minutes total o Due February 13 or February 20 About 8 weeks into the course: o Basecamp updated for project o Project memo 2: 2-3 pages: describe the project; present the work done to date; show original and revised schedule and (in a few cases) budget); outline the final deliverable o Project presentation 2: PowerPoint; one slide per item above, 10 minutes total o Due March 13 or March 20 Final Submission: o A written report, between 5 and 10 pages in length, describing the project. What did you do? What challenges did you overcome? What would have made the project work better? What remains to be done? This will be shared with the client. o The work itself the website, report, whatever is called for. o Project presentation, 10 15 minutes describing the final product. o Due May 7


Improve the representation of Rhode Islands outdoor sculpture on Wikipedia. Sources include the Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commissions publication on them; Wikiproject Public Art,, and the Massachusetts Civil War Sesquicentennial memorials project. Some of the challenges: understand how Wikipedia works; contact others who have worked on similar projects; analyze whats missing from Wikipedia and what should be there to best represent the stories youre trying to tell; and write or improve Wikipedia entries to improve the way it represents this topic. The Haffenreffer Museum has a new exhibition up about Kennedy Plaza: City Plaza People: Sharing Public Space in Providence, curated by Rebecca Carters class, Urban Life: Anthropology in and of the City this fall. More about their work here. Plan and execute installations or programs for the exhibit at Kennedy Plaza, or online, to connect the two places and extend the impact of the exhibition. Contact the Greater Kennedy Plaza Partnership, the class that did the exhibition, and the Haffenreffer Museum staff. Find out what programs are planned, what research, images and artifacts you can use from the exhibition. Find out what spaces might be available at the Plaza. Research the audience there. Determine whether an installation, programs, or other work might be appropriate. The Roger Williams Natural History Museum is planning on renovating its Natural Selections exhibit. The proposed exhibit will put these early collection resources in the historic context of the times, using them to discuss the late 19th and 20th century interest in collecting, especially in the local area. Theyre also interested in contemporary collectors. Well work with the staff at the Museum to discuss their interests, research their collections, and propose new content and a new story. The Museum is open to adventuresome presentations, and to extending the collection beyond natural history to include ethnographic and archaeological collections. The Westport (Massachusetts) Historical Society is beginning a significant new undertaking: interpreting the 1710 Handy House, which it has just purchased. They would like help with two projects. One is to edit audio, video, and images into an iBooks tour of the house that can be used on an iPad. The second is to write the storyline for a future video installation: 500 years of looking out the window of the house.





Barnaby Evans, director of WaterFire, is working on a plan to bring WaterFire to the Reflecting Pool in Washington, DC, in celebration of (among other things) the 350 th anniversary of the chartering of Rhode Island. Youll work with him on research and planning. Rhode Island is celebrating the 350th anniversary of its charter, and a Commission (staffed by Jessica Unger, a recent public humanities graduate) is interested in a creating podcasts and social media to help get word out. Work on a project as part of the National Museum of American Historys American Enterprise exhibit. The exhibition team is looking for research, writing, artifact selection, and help on creating a web exhibit on young entrepreneurs, everything from the young Ross Perot to lemonade stands. How do kids make money? Youll work with staff at the museum, choose objects from their collections and suggest new ones that should be collected The New Bedford Whaling Museum is interested in two projects. 1. Build out the Arctic Visions website/blog. Arctic Visions opens at the Museum this spring; the website is designed to make the information in the exhibition, and more, available to online visitors. 2. It is interested in re-inventing museum education by using topics of interest to kids, like boats, to teach skills they need to know, like writing. Working with their educational consultant, youll figure out ways to connect online and in-person visits to the museum by New Bedford Elementary school students. Sakonnet Mobile. Sakonnet Mobile Historical is a collaborative project between the Brown Center for Public Humanities, the Tiverton Public Library, and the Little Compton Historical Society to interpret sites of historical and cultural interest utilizing Mobile Historical, an NEH-funded project developed to curate physical landscapes using GPS technology. The app will include a blending of textual interpretation, historic documents and photographs, oral history recordings, and short videos. You will gather collections, information, and stories using traditional and social media, oral history, and community workshops and, working with the partner organizations, curate the sites, write content, and launch the mobile application.





Week of 1/21

Topic Introduction, 1

Monday (no class)

Wednesday About me. About the class. About the assignments. Expertise and audience in public humanities

Friday Discussion of projects




Preserving Culture, 1: Who owns culture? Who gets to tell the stories?

About public humanities. What stories, whose stories, and who tells them?

Projects and project management. Setting up projects for the semester.

*Julie Ellison, "This American Life: How Are the Humanities Public?" Explore the Humanities Indicator project, especially the public humanities part, at *Kwame Anthony Appiah, Whose Culture is it? in the New York Review of Books, Vol. 53, No. 2, Feb. 9, 2006. OCRA *James B. Gardner, Contested Terrain: History, Museums, and the Public, The Public Historian, Fall 2004, Vol. 26, No. 4, Pages 11-21 OCRA Barry OConnell, Who Owns History And How Do We Decide? at *Stephen E. Weil, Twenty-one ways to buy art. OCRA *James Gardner and Elizabeth Merritt, Collections Planning: Pinning Down a Strategy, Museum News 81 (July/August 2002): 30, 33, 6061. OCRA *Linda Young, Collecting: Reclaiming the Art, Systematising the Technique, in Museums and the Future of Collecting, ed. Simon J. Knell (canvas) *Judith Tannenbaum, C is for Contemporary Art Curator OCRA *James Cuno, The Object of Art Museums, in Cuno, ed., Whose Muse?: Art Museums and the Public Trust OCRA *AAM, Collections Stewardship Report of the AAMD Task Force on the Acquisition of Archaeological Materials and Ancient Art (revised 2008) Victoria and Albert Museum Collections Development Policy: *Stephen E. Nash and Chip Colwell-Chanthaphonh, NAGPRA after two decades, and other articles in Vol. 33, Issue 2, of Museum Anthropology The development of NAGPRA Heritage Preservation, A Public Trust at Risk. OCRA Steven Lubar and Peter Liebhold, Whats worth saving? OCRA Collecting Stories: Connecting Objects: - see also full site at Harriet Baskas, Hidden Treasures Radio Project, at


Preserving culture, 2: Artifacts

What do museums collect, and why? Whats worth saving? Who decides? Collecting objects or collecting stories?

Collecting policies and guidelines. Museum registration. NAGPRA and other rules

Collections planning workshop

Assignment 1: Two-page memorandum arguing for one of Weils 21 ways to buy art. 200 word letter to the editor of the local paper, and a tweet. Due 2/6

Week of 2/11

Topic Preserving culture, 3: Historic preservation

Monday The policy of historic preservation

Wednesday The politics and publics of historic preservation

Friday Presentation from project groups 1-4

Reading *Peri E. Arnold, American Heritage and the Development of Historic Preservation Policy in the United States, in National Approaches to the Governance of Historical Heritage over Time. A Comparative Report, S. Fisch (Ed.) Online via Josiah. *Patricia Mooney-Melvin, Harnessing the Romance of the Past: Preservation, Tourism, and History, Public Historian (Spring 1991). OCRA *Briann Greenfield, Marketing the Past: Historic Preservation in Providence, RI, in Giving Preservation a History: Histories of Historic Preservation in the United States ed. Max Page and Randall Mason. OCRA *National Park Service, How to Apply the National Register Criteria for Evaluation Read over Providence Preservation Society and Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission websites Richard Longstreth, Architectural History and the Practice of Historic Preservation in the United States, The Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Vol. 58, No. 3, 1999/2000. (Sep., 1999), pp. 326-333. OCRA NPS, Teaching with Historic Places, How to apply the National Register Criteria for Nomination, at Providence Preservation Society website:

Assignment Project Memo 1 due for groups 1-4


Preserving culture, 4: Intangible cultural heritage

(no class)

Memorials and intangible heritage

Presentations from project groups 5-8

*Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, World Heritage and Cultural Economics OCRA *Kirk Savage, The Past in the Present; the life of memorials, Harvard Design Magazine, Fall 1999, No. 9 OCRA Browse the UNESCO site: Listen to one or more of the Why safeguard intangible cultural heritage? Answers by States interviews at Sita Reddy, Making Heritage Legible: Who Owns Traditional Medical Knowledge?, International Journal of Cultural Property (2006) 13:161188 Richard Kurin, Reflections of a Culture Broker *Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Intrinsic Motivation in Museums (canvas) *Margaret Lindauer, The Critical Museum Visitor, in Janet Marstine, New Museum Theory and Practice: An Introduction, online through the Brown University library *John H. Falk, Museums as Institutions for Personal Learning, in Daedalus (Summer 1999) OCRA Eilean Hooper-Greenhill, The Power of Museum Pedagogy, in Hugh H. Genoways, ed., Museum Philosophy OCRA What We Do Best, Making the Case for the Museum Learning in its Own Right

Project memo 1 due for group 5-8


Presenting, 1: Learning in Museums

Learning in Museums


Museum Evaluation Workshop

Week of





Reading Ben Garcia Journal of Museum Education, Volume 37, Number 2, Summer 2012, pp. 4756. (Canvas) *National Association for Museum Exhibition, Standards for Museum Exhibitions and Indicators of Excellence OCRA *Framework for Assessing Excellence in Exhibitions from a Visitor-Centered Perspective (Canvas) One or more of the visitor surveys at



Presenting, 2: Museum exhibitions

Museum exhibition history and recent trends.

What makes a good exhibit? Choosing objects, writing exhibit scripts, thinking about presentation

Workshop in exhibition conceptualization and label writing: Brown 250th exhibition

*Stephen Greenblatt, Resonance and Wonder, OCRA *Zahava Doering, Strangers, Guests, Clients: Visitor Experiences in Museums, Smithsonian Office of Institutional Studies, 1999 (canvas) Richard Rabinowitz, The Transformation of Cultural Practice. OCRA Margaret A. Lindauer, From salad bars to vivid stories: four game plans for developing educationally successful exhibitions. OCRA Jay Rounds, Strategies for the Curiosity-Driven Museum Visitor. OCRA *Larry Borowsky, Telling a Story in 100 Words: Effective Label Copy OCRA Beverly Serrell, Exhibit Labels: An Interpretive Approach Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris and Carl Grodach, Displaying and Celebrating the Other: A Study of the Mission, Scope, and Roles of Ethnic Museums in Los Angeles The Public Historian, Vol. 26 No. 4. OCRA Steven Lubar, Making America on the Move. OCRA Spencer Crew and James Sims, Locating Authenticity. OCRA National Park Service, Interp Guide: The Philosophy and Practice of Connecting People to Heritage. OCRA Peter Liebhold, Experiences from the Front Line, OCRA Eric Rothstein vs. Nina Simon on what makes a good museum: and


Presenting, 3: Interactivity and New Media

Interactivity in Museums

Digital Public Culture

Presentation from project groups 1-4

Diana Taylor, Save As Knowedge and Transmission in the Age of Digital Technologies. Gail Durbin, Interactive Learning in the British Galleries, 15001900 Jennifer Wild Czajkowski, Changing the Rules Making Space for Interactive Learning in the Galleries of the Detroit Institute of Arts, Journal of Museum Education, Volume 36, Number 2, Summer 2011, pp. 171178. (Canvas) *Consider some exemplary websites: use examples from Museums and the Web 2012

Project memo 2 due for group 1-4 Assignment 2: Make an exhibition panel out of

Week of





Reading (MW2012): Best of the Web: Review Criteria and MW2012 Best of the Web Winners David Silver, Interfacing American Culture: The Perils and Potentials of Virtual Exhibitions, American Quarterly 49.4 (1997) 825-850 *Fiona Cameron, Digital Futures I: Museum Collections, Digital Technologies, and the Cultural Construction of Knowledge, Curator, Vol. 46, No. 3, 2003 Cohen and Rosenzweig, Digital History Fiona Cameron and Sarah Kenderdine, Theorizing Digital Cultural Heritage

Assignment one chapter of the Brown University history. Due 3/2


Presenting, 4: Web 2.0 and Community Curation

Web 2.0

Community Curation

Presentation from project groups 5-8

*SI Web and New Media Strategy wiki Yale Center for British Art technology website Google Cultural Institute *Nina Simon, The Participatory Museum, *Christina Kreps, Curatorship as Social Practice, Curator 46/3, July 2003. (Canvas) *Throwing Open the Doors: Communities as Curators section in Letting Go? Sharing Historical Authority in a User-Generated World Edited by Bill Adair, Benjamin Filene, and Laura Koloski (ebook via Josiah) *Virtually Breaking Down: Authority and the Web section in Letting Go? Sharing Historical Authority in a User-Generated World Edited by Bill Adair, Benjamin Filene, and Laura Koloski (ebook via Josiah)

Project memo 2 due for group 5-8

Week of 3/25 - Spring Break no class 10 4/1 Civic Cultural Engagement, tourism and 1: Cultural creative tourism and placemaking development

Measuring Impact: Arts Data

Workshop: Creative Placemaking (with Barnaby Evans)

*NEA, Creative Placemaking *Art Place America Ian David Moss, Creative Placemaking Has an Outcomes Problem, *US Dept. of Commerce and Presidents Committee on Arts and Humanities, White Paper on Cultural and Heritage Tourism. OCRA *Cultural Heritage Tourism website: -especially Grodach, Carl and Loukaitou-Sideris, Anastasia (2007) Cultural Development Strategies and Urban Revitalization, International Journal of Cultural Policy, 13:4, 349 - 370 (canvas) Pew Cultural Data Project:

Week of





Reading Robert LaLonde, et al., Mapping Cultural Participation in Chicago (canvas) Americans for the Arts, Arts and Economic Prosperity: The Economic Impact of Nonprofit Arts and Cultural Institutions and their Audiences in Providence, RI. OCRA Managing Tourism at Places of Heritage Significance, 1999 The Ename Charter: Maria-Rosario Jackson, et al., Culture Counts in Communities: A Framework for Measurement. OCRA




Civic Engagement, 2: Building community

Communitybased museums

Community arts

Workshop: Community Engagement

*Museums & Society 2034: Trends and Potential Futures, Institute of Library and Museum Services, Libraries and Museums in an Age of Participatory Culture *Ron Chew, The Wing Luke Asian Museum. OCRA Richard Sandell, Museums as Agents of Social Inclusion (1998) Museum Management and Curatorship, 17:4, 401-418 *Edward Rothstein, To Each His Own Museum, New York Times, Dec. 28. 2010 (canvas) *Stephen E. Weil, From Being about Something to Being for Somebody: The Ongoing Transformation of the American Museum, Daedalus (Summer 1999). OCRA Aaron Lansky, Outwitting History: The Amazing Adventures of a Man Who Rescued a Million Yiddish Book, or *Jack Tchen, Towards a Dialogic Museum, in Museums and Communities, edited by Ivan Karp and Steven Lavine (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press), 285-326. OCRA Amanda J. Cobb, The National Museum of the American Indian as Cultural Sovereignty, American Quarterly 57:2 (2005) OCRA

Assignment 3: Community Engagement and Local History memo. Due 4/10



Institutions, 1: Governance


Strategic Planning and Management

Workshop: Project Management

*Maxwell Anderson, Metrics of Success in Art Museums AAM, National Standards & Best Practices for U.S. Museums, (on Canvas) *Association of Art Museum Directors, Professional Practices in Art Museums (Canvas) *Kenneth Dayton, Governance is Governance. OCRA John Henry Merryman, Museum Ethics







Read sample grant proposals at

Week of

Topic 2: Strategic Planning, fundraising, and measuring outcomes

Monday Development, Grantwriting and Fundraising

Wednesday Outcomes

Friday from project groups 1-2

Reading historical-and-cultural-organizations-planning-grants or *Stephen Weil, Transformed from a Cemetery of Bric-a-Brac. OCRA Shaping Outcomes: Making a Difference in Museums and Libraries *The Foundation Center, Proposal Writing Short Course, Sally L. Bond, et al., Taking Stock: A Practical Guide to Evaluating Your Own Programs. OCRA Hugh H. Genoways, Lynne M. Ireland, Museum Administration: An Introduction




Conclusions and review of projects

Project Presentations 3-4

Project Presentations 5-6

Presentation from project groups 7-8

Final report on project and final project due 5/7