AMST2540 Methods in Public Humanities Spring 2014

Prof. Steven Lubar Tuesday, Thursday, 10:30-11:50

This course surveys public humanities work, including cultural heritage preservation and interpretation, museum collecting and exhibition, informal education, and cultural development. It also provides an overview of the contexts of that work in nonprofit organizations, including governance, management, and development.
AMST2550 focuses on the work that public humanists do: techniques, concerns, and practical issues. We’ll 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 challenges that public humanists face, as well as to question some of their assumptions and techniques. The course is organized into four parts. Part 1 addresses the institutions of public humanities, the structures we work within. Part 2 considers interpretation, the stories we tell. Part 3 the things we save, considering fundamental question in any discussion of cultural heritage: what’s worth saving, what’s 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 4 considers civic engagement. The course includes traditional lectures, workshops, visits and visitors, and projects. In the discussion, we’ll talk about the material in the lectures, and also the readings. You should read the assigned weekly reading early in the week, and be prepared to discuss them. Additional readings of interest are listed on the syllabus as well. The readings are mostly on the Canvas site; some are on reserve at the Rockefeller Library or on the library’s reserve site (OCRA): the password is “public”. 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 #amst2540. It's also a good idea to follow me on twitter, @lubar, and to browse my blog occasionally. The course looks at methods, the art of getting things done. The assignments reflect this. You’ll write memoranda, project outlines, grant proposals, and other practical documents, presenting guidance to a boss about what should be done, and why. Each of these will be peer-reviewed, in addition to my grading. You should also attend, over the course of the semester, some of the workshops or seminars hosted by the Public Humanities Center. Your grade is based on eight short writing assignments (10 percent each), and class and workshop/seminar participation (20 percent). Goals and Assessment

This class has two major goals. You will learn something about the work of public humanities institutions, from museums to community culture projects. You'll also learn how they work - from an overview of organization, to project management, to the details of memo writing. The course looks at methods, the art of getting things done. The assignments reflect this. You’ll write memoranda, project outlines, grant proposals, and other practical documents, presenting guidance to a boss about what should be done, and why. Each of these will be peer-reviewed, in addition to my grading. You should also attend, over the course of the semester, some of the workshops or seminars hosted by the Public Humanities Center. Your grade is based on eight short writing assignments (10 percent each), and class and workshop/seminar participation (20 percent).


Week 1 Introduction
Tuesday, January 19 No class

Thursday, January 21 About the class. Assignment 1: Skills. Due 1/26

Week 2 Introduction, continued.
Tuesday, January 26 Finish outlining syllabus. Overview of skills in public humanities: humanities skills, public skills, people skills, management skills Look at the media of public humanities – journals, magazines, social media, and how they work. Thursday, January 28 Expertise and audience in public humanities: What is your role? Look at job descriptions, organizational charts, articles on work. “Smiling profession?” Readings *Stephen E. Weil, “From Being about Something to Being for Somebody: The Ongoing Transformation of the American Museum, Daedalus (Summer 1999). OCRA Read position descriptions for directors of museums, humanities councils. For example: Andrea Witcomb, "From Batavia to Australia II," In Reimagining the Museum

Week 3 The institutions of the public humanities,1

Tuesday, February 4 Visit: Elizabeth Francis, Executive Director, Rhode Island Council for the Humanities. Readings: RICH strategic plan, 2009-2014 RICH 40th anniversary booklet Read mission statements and strategic plans of state humanities councils (online) Thursday, February 6 The big picture of public humanities work - who supports it, how do people in the field think about funding, audience, politics? Strategic planning and mission statements as a way to understand the big picture of public humanities work. Skills: about memo writing. Readings: *Association of Art Museum Directors, Professional Practices in Art Museums (Canvas) *Kenneth Dayton, Governance is Governance. OCRA Assignment 2: Mission statements. Due February 20

Week 4: Institutions, 2
Tuesday, February 11 Visit: Helen Koh, former Executive Director, MOCA. A case study of governance, strategic planning: The Museum of the Chinese in America. Readings *Executive Director‟s Guide, pp. 1-10 (canvas) *MOCA website *John Tchen, “Toward a Dialogic Museum, The Chinatown History Museum Experiment” Thursday, February 13 Grants and projects. Output and outcomes. Evaluations. Measure of success. Performance Metrics. How do we prove we‟re doing something useful? Skills: Grant-writing.

*Read sample grant proposals at or

*Maxwell Anderson, “Metrics of Success in Art Museums” *Sally L. Bond, et al., Taking Stock: A Practical Guide to Evaluating Your Own Programs. OCRA The Foundation Center, Proposal Writing Short Course, AAM, National Standards & Best Practices for U.S. Museums , (on Canvas) Shaping Outcomes: Making a Difference in Museums and Libraries AAM Museum Essentials Online Series Project Management Basics canvas) Hugh H. Genoways and Lynne M. Ireland, Museum Administration: An Introduction Assignment 3: Grant proposal outline. Due 2/23

Week 5: Interpretation, 1
Tuesday, February 20 NO CLASS Thursday, February 22 Audiences: Who are they, who aren‟t they, what do we know about them? Audiences in person and audiences virtual. Readings Explore the Humanities Indicator project, especially the public humanities part, at Julie Ellison, "This American Life: How Are the Humanities Public?"

*Libraries and Museums in an Era of Participatory Culture Read a survey of interest at the Smithsonian Office of Programs and Analysis.
*Robert LaLonde, et al., Mapping Cultural Participation in Chicago (canvas)

Note: Thursday 2/20 Slavery exhibit workshop and Monday 2/26 exhibit workshop

Week 6: Interpretation, 2
Tuesday, February 27

Learning in museums, especially exhibits. Museum exhibition history and recent trends. Thinking about presentation. Readings: Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, “Intrinsic Motivation in Museums” (canvas)

*John H. Falk, “Museums as Institutions for Personal Learning,” in Daedalus (Summer 1999) 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 *Zahava Doering, “Strangers, Guests, Clients: Visitor Experiences in Museums,” Smithsonian Office of Institutional Studies, 1999 (canvas) How-to readings on exhibits Larry Borowsky, Telling a Story in 100 Words: Effective Label Copy OCRA Beverly Serrell, Exhibit Labels: An Interpretive Approach Case Studies Steven Lubar, “Making America on the Move.” OCRA Spencer Crew and James Sims, “Locating Authenticity.” OCRA Richard Rabinowitz, “Eavesdropping at the Well” *Steven Lubar, “Curator as Auteur: Thoughts on Richard Rabinowitz‟s “Eavesdropping at the Well” Thursday, March 1 What makes a good exhibit? How do we judge them? Looking closely at exhibit labels.

*Visit a local museum (e.g. RISD Museum, Bell Gallery or Haffenreffer) and come prepared to talk about exhibition layout and labels. Take pictures. We may visit one of these in class, too. *Framework for Assessing Excellence in Exhibitions from a Visitor-Centered Perspective” *National Association for Museum Exhibition, “Standards for Museum Exhibitions and Indicators of Excellence” OCRA

One or more of the exhibit visitor surveys at Assignment 4: Exhibit labels. Due March 15.

Week 7: Interpretation, 3
Tuesday, March 4 Public programs. How do museum educators think about their audiences? Visit: RISD Museum, meet with Hollis Mickey and Deb Clemons. Meet at RISD Museum Readings: *Reports on One Room program (TK) 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,” Ben Garcia Journal of Museum Education, Volume 37, Number 2, Summer 2012, pp. 47-56. IMLS, “Museums, Libraries, and K-12 Learning”

Thursday, March 6 Public programs, continued. Visit: CultureLab, meet with Geralyn Ducady. Meet at Haffenreffer Museum, Manning Hall. Tentative. Readings: *Steven Lubar and Emily Stokes-Rees, “From Collections to Curriculum: New Approaches to Teaching and Learning” *National Park Service, Interp Guide: The Philosophy and Practice of Connecting People to Heritage. OCRA

Assignment 5: Memo for RISD or HMA proposing a public program. Due 3/20

Week 8: Interpretation, 4
Tuesday, March 11 Interactivity and New Media. Interactives in exhibitions and on the web. Collections as Interactives. Social Media. Skype visitor: Erin Blasco, New Media, National Museum of American

History (tentative) Reading *G. Wayne Clough, Best of Both Worlds: Museums, Libraries, and Archives in a Digital Age *Michelle Henning. “New Media,” in Companion to Museum Studies *Draft report on the #SItweetup at @amhistorymuseum on Feb 19, 2013 By Erin Blasco (@erinblasco) *Getty Museum, L.A. Art Online: Learning from the Getty‟s Electronic Cataloguing Initiative *Gail Durbin, „Interactive Learning in the British Galleries, 1500–1900‟ *Diana Taylor, Save As… Knowledge and Transmission in the Age of Digital Technologies. 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. 171–178. (Canvas) *Consider some exemplary websites: use examples from Museums and the Web 2012 (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 On new interactives at the Cleveland Museum of Art:

Thursday, March 13 Workshop: Creating an interactive. Mobile RI. Readings: Sakonnet Historical and Mobile RI grant proposals Style Guide for Mobile RI
Assignment 6: Mobile RI project. Due 3/27; second draft will be due 4/15 Note: 3/14 2:00 Azie Dungey of “Ask a Slave” presentation

Week 9: Preserving Culture, 1
Tuesday, March 18 Collecting art and artifacts. What do museums collect, and why? What‟s worth saving? Who decides? Collecting objects or collecting stories? The ethics of collecting: NAGPRA and other rules. Collecting policies and guidelines. Readings: *James Gardner and Elizabeth Merritt, “Collections Planning: Pinning Down a Strategy,” Museum News 81 (July/August 2002): 30, 33, 60–61. OCRA 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 AAMD on Sacred Objects “The development of NAGPRA” Heritage Preservation, A Public Trust at Risk. OCRA Collecting Stories: Connecting Objects: - see also full site at Harriet Baskas, Hidden Treasures Radio Project, at

Thursday, March 20 I‟m away. Visit RISD Museum: behind the scenes. (Tentative) Readings: Brooklyn Museum of Art, “Insights into the Work of Researchers, Curators, and Project Manager on the Costume Collection,” (first 14 minutes) Metropolitan Museum of Art,” “On Collection Development: Short Presentations and Panel Discussion,”

ADD on RISD collection


Week 10: Preserving Culture, 2
Tuesday, April 1 Museum collecting workshop: What should the National Museum of American History collect, and why? How should it collect? Come prepared with proposed artifacts, either actual artifacts from, say, auction web sites, or a more general category of collections. Reading: *Stephen E. Weil, “Twenty-one ways to buy art.” OCRA Steven Lubar, “50 Years of Collecting at the National Museum of American History” Steven Lubar and Peter Liebhold, “What‟s worth saving?” OCRA Darryl McIntyre, “What to Collect? Museums and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Collecting” *Linda Young, “Collecting: Reclaiming the Art, Systematising the Technique,” in Museums and the Future of Collecting, ed. Simon J. Knell (canvas) Read several of the NMAH collections committee memoranda.

Assignment 7: Collections committee memorandum. Due April 15

Thursday, April 3

Collections preservation. Museum registration. Conservation. Using artifacts. 3-D scanning Reading *Barbara Applebaum, Conservation Treatment Methodology, Introduction Allison Wain, Values and Significance in Conservation Practice Conservators code of ethics Smithsonian 3-D website *Marie Malaro, A Legal Primer on Managing Museum Collections, chapter 1 Note: 4/4, 4–6pm Emma McLean: “If you build it, will they come? Digital Participation projects in arts and heritage,” Digital Scholarship Lab, Rockefeller Library

Week 11: Preserving Culture, 3
Tuesday, April 8 Intangible cultural heritage Readings: Browse the UNESCO site: Listen to one or more of the “Why safeguard intangible cultural heritage? Answers by States…” interviews at *Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, “Intangible Heritage as Metacultural Production” Sita Reddy, “Making Heritage Legible: Who Owns Traditional Medical Knowledge?, International Journal of Cultural Property (2006) 13:161–188 *Richard Kurin, “Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage in the 2003 UNESCO Convention: a critical appraisal” Richard Kurin, Reflections of a Culture Broker

Thursday, April 8 Memorials and Commemorations. Case study: Brown‟s slavery m emorial and Brown‟s 250 . Readings: *Kirk Savage, “The Past in the Present; the life of memorials,” Harvard Design Magazine, Fall 1999, No. 9 OCRA Marita Sturken, “The Wall, the Screen, and the Image: The Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Representations, No. 35, Special Issue: Monumental Histories. (Summer, 1991), pp. 118th

142. Brown University, Report of the Commission on Memorials

Week 12: Civic Engagement, 1
Tuesday, April 15
Creative Placemaking

*NEA, Creative Placemaking *Art Place America Ian David Moss, “Creative Placemaking Has an Outcomes Problem,” *US Dept. of Commerce and President‟s 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: 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

Thursday, April 17 Visit from Lynne McCormack, Director, Office of Arts, Culture and Tourism, Providence, RI (tentative) Reading Americans for the Arts, Arts and Economic Prosperity: The Economic Impact of Nonprofit Arts and Cultural Institutions and their Audiences in Providence, RI. OCRA

City of Providence Cultural Plan

Note: 4/16: 9:30am-12:30pm, Brand Strategy and Market Research with Ken Roberts

Week 13: Civic Engagement, 2
Tuesday April 22 Community-based museums, Community arts *Eric Rothstein vs. Nina Simon on what makes a good museum: and *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) Elizabeth Crooke, “Museums and Community,” in Companion to Museum Studies Thursday, April 24 Online communities. Crowdsourcing. Reading: *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)

Week 14: Civic Engagement, 2
Tuesday, 4/29
Ethics and Social Justice Reading Janet Marstine, “The Contingent Nature of the new museum ethics,” in Routledge Companion to Museum Ethics John Henry Merryman, “Museum Ethics”

Lessons from the Ethics Bowl IUPUI Ethics Bowl Assignment 8: Write 2 questions for the Ethics Bowl competition. Due at class on Thursday Thursday, May 1 Ethics Bowl

Week 15: Conclusions
Tuesday, May 6 Last day of class. Wrapping up.

Assignment 1: Skills. Write a paragraph or two on public humanities skills you bring to the class from previous work or courses. As you write, think about the nature of skills in this field. Are they interpersonal, technical, academic? Assignment 2: Mission statements. Based on RICH‟s strategic planning, Elizabeth Francis‟s presentation, and the mission statements of other state humanities councils, analyze the present RICH mission statement and write a new one. Write a memo to the Elizabeth Francis explaining why you‟ve shaped it as you have. Can be done in groups if you like. 2-3 pages. Due 2/16. (Note: if you prefer, do this for MOCA instead, writing a memo to the new executive director.) Assignment 3: Grant proposal outline. In 2-3 pages, a grant proposal for a project you‟ve worked on. What are the outputs and outcomes? How will you measure results? Who are the audiences? Due 2/23 Assignment 4: Exhibit labels. Rewrite the main label from an exhibition in one-half the number of words in the original. (Choose any exhibit of interest, and, if you like, rewrite it with a specific audience in mind.) Write a page explaining why you‟ve done what you‟ve done. Due March 15.

Assignment 5: Memo for RISD Museum or HMA outlining a plan of public programming. (For RISD,
base on the One Room reports.) Write a 2-3 page memorandum to either the director of the RISD Museum or the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology, describing recent developments in community participation in museum programming, and setting out a program for the organization to follow to expand into these areas. Be convincing: explain why this is a good idea. Cite the literature we‟ve read in class. Do 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.) Due March 20.

Assignment 6: Mobile RI. RI Council for the Humanities and the Public Humanities Center are producing a mobile app of RI history. We will be working on black history in RI, working with the RI Black Heritage Society, and on the Blackstone region, working with Slater Mill Historic Site. Each student will write one entry, doing the research, finding media (audio and video), and writing to the project guidelines. Due 3/27; second draft will be due 4/15. More information to come. Assignment 7: Collections committee memorandum. Write a memo to the National Museum of American History collections committee making the case for collecting some artifact or collection. Model it on the example memoranda. Describe present collections in the museum and how it builds on strengths or fills in gaps; how the object might be used in research and exhibitions; any community connections; any possible political concerns. You might also want to outline similar collections at other museums. Be convincing. 3-5 pages. Due April 15. Note: if you‟d like to write for another museum, you may. Assignment 8. Write 2 questions for the Ethics Bowl competition, based on any topic covered in class this semester. Model them on the IUPUI Ethics Bowl, or on the Archaeology Ethics Bowl. Due at class on Thursday, May 1.

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