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AMST1510:  

Museum  Collec2ng  
and  Collec2ons  
A  course  using  the  library’s  
collec3ons  to  teach  about  
collec3ng,  collec3ons,  and  
collec3ons-­‐based  exhibi3ons  

Presenta3on  by  Anna  Meyer,  
Sarah  Dylla,  and  Steven  Lubar  
 

About  the  Course  

This  course  explores  museum  
collec3ng  and  collec3ons,  focusing  
on  the  ways  that  museums  care  
for  their  collec3ons,  make  them  
available,  and  use  them  for  
research  and  educa3on.    

We  will  work  intensively  on  three  
collec3ons  at  Brown,  researching  
their  history,  cataloging  them,  
crea3ng  exhibi3ons  and  wri3ng  
collec3ons  plans.  

 

Syllabus

Readings  in  museum  literature   Visits  with  registrars,  
 
conservators,  and  curators  at  
Brown  and  RISD  Museum  
 

Lectures  on  collec3ng,  
collec3ons,  material  culture,  
exhibi3ons  
 

Workshops  on  exhibi3on  
conceptualiza3on,    label  
wri3ng,  design,  and  
interac3ves  
 

What  you’ll  learn  
 

How  museum  curators,  
registrars,  and  conservators  
use  and  think  about  
collec3ons  

How  to  conceptualize,  manage  
and  create  a  collec3ons-­‐based  
exhibi3on  
 

Best  prac3ces  in  collec3ons  
development,  management,  
preserva3on  and  exhibi3on  
 

The  place  of  collec3ons  in  
museum  work  
 

The  ways  museum  ar3facts  
are  useful  in  teaching  and  
research  
 

Best  prac3ces  for  making  
collec3ons  available  and  
searchable  digitally  
 

 

Assignments
Script  wri3ng  

Exhibit  design  
 

Interac3ve  design  

Assignments  
Collec3ons  planning  

Collec3ons  acquisi3on  
 

Cataloging  

Historic  scien2fic  
instruments    
 

Pain2ngs  in  the  
Annmary  Brown  
Memorial  

Stamp  collec2ons    

How  might  this  collec3on  be  
made  more  useful?  We  will  
update  the  database,  explore  
ways  to  use  the  collec3on  in  
teaching,  and  propose  a  new  
plan  for  the  Memorial.    

We’ll  explore  ways  to  increase  
knowledge  of  and  interest  in  
the  collec3ons,  produce  an  
exhibi3on,  and  suggest  future  
direc3ons  for  collec3ng.    

 
Where  are  they?  We  will  
catalog  them  and  produce  a  
small  exhibi3on  of  these  
instruments  in  the  Rockefeller  
Library.  

Historic  scien2fic  
instruments  

Where  are  they?  We  will  
catalog  them  and  produce  a  
small  exhibi3on  of  these  
instruments  in  the  Rockefeller  
Library.  

Pain2ngs  in  the  
Annmary  Brown  
Memorial  
 

How  might  this  collec3on  be  
made  more  useful?  We  will  
update  the  database,  explore  
ways  to  use  the  collec3on  in  
teaching,  and  propose  a  new  
plan  for  the  Memorial.    

Pain2ngs  in  the  
Annmary  Brown  
Memorial  
 

What  was  the  purpose  of  the  
Memorial?    

Historical  Research  

Pain2ngs  in  the  
Annmary  Brown  
Memorial  
 

Checking  the  catalog  of  
pain3ngs  

Cataloging  

Pain2ngs  in  the  
Annmary  Brown  
Memorial  
 

Cataloging  and  rehousing  the  
ar3facts.    

Cataloging  

Pain2ngs  in  the  
Annmary  Brown  
Memorial  
 

Researching  the  crea3on  of  
the  collec3on  

Cataloging  

Pain2ngs  in  the  
Annmary  Brown  
Memorial  
 

Challenges  of  the  space  

Future  Uses  

Pain2ngs  in  the  
Annmary  Brown  
Memorial  
 

Proposing  a  plan  for  the  
building,  perhaps  a  grant  
proposal  

Future  Uses  

Stamp  Collec2ons    
 

We’ll  explore  ways  to  increase  
knowledge  of  and  interest  in  
the  collec3ons,  produce  an  
exhibi3on,  and  suggest  future  
direc3ons  for  collec3ng.    

Stamp  Collec2ons    
 

Understanding  the  collec3on’s  
history,  present  use,  and  
poten3al  

History  and  Use  

Stamp  Collec2ons    

Exhibi2on    

Main  Exhibit  Labels  

The  stamps  in  this  exhibit  showcase    the  treasure  trove    
of  Brown’s  stamp  collec3on.  Brown  University  houses  
one  of  the  most  comprehensive    public  stamp  
collec3ons  in  the  United  States.  Steve  Lubar's  American  
Studies  1510  course  produced  this  exhibit  to  call  
aUen3on  to  some  of  the  untold  stories    of  the  stamp  
collec3ons  of  the  John  Hay  Library.  
   
What  stories  do  the  stamps  in  this  exhibit  tell  you?  
What  do  they  symbolize  about  art,  geography,  and  
history  ?

 

 

Stamps  offer  vibrant,  coded  messages  from  the  na3ons  
that  produce  them,  the  people  who  use  them,  and  the  
hobbyists  who  collect  them.  They  are  a  moving  
montage  of  pictorial  stories,  offering  traces  of  specific  
3mes,  places,  rela3onships,  and  poli3cs.  A  small  but  
powerful  canvas,  the  postage  stamp  can  expose  
conflicts,  distribute  propaganda,  showcase  popular  
culture,  and  project  a  na3on’s  values  to  the  world.    
   
In  1840  England  printed  the  first  postage  stamp,  and  
almost  immediately,  people  started  to  collect  them.  
Brown  University’s  stamp  collec3on  was  begun  in  
1933,  and  today  it  is  one  of  the  largest  publicly  
accessible  collec3ons  in  the  country.    
 
This  exhibit,  curated  by  Brown  students,  showcases  the  
diversity  of  Brown’s  collec3on.  Its  goal  is  to  illuminate  
the  research  and  teaching  poten3al  that  exists  in  one  
of  the  Hay’s  least  known  collec3ons,  and  to  posi3on  
the  collec3on  for  future  use.  What  makes  these  bits  of  
paper  so  precious?  

Stamp  Collec2ons  
 

Stamps  as  Na3onal  Iden3ty  
Stamps  as  Art  
Stamps  as  Communica3on  
Stamp  Collec3ng    

Exhibi2on  
 

Stamp  Collec2ons  
 

Do  the  stamps  in  this  case  look  
like  stamps?  Can  you  mail  a  
le4er  with  them?  

Governments  issue  stamps  to  show  that  a  fee  
has  been  paid  for  postage  and  other  
commodi3es.  Companies  and  governments  
commercialize  stamps  by  playing  with  their  
shapes  and  content  to  raise  revenue  and  
generate  publicity.  Ar3sts  appropriate  the  
form  of  stamps  and  subvert  stamps’  
commercializa3on.    

Exhibi2on  
 

Stamp  Collec2ons  
 

Do  the  stamps  in  this  case  look  
like  stamps?  Can  you  mail  a  
le4er  with  them?  
 

Governments  issue  stamps  to  show  that  a  fee  
has  been  paid  for  postage  and  other  
commodi3es.  Companies  and  governments  
commercialize  stamps  by  playing  with  their  
shapes  and  content  to  raise  revenue  and  
generate  publicity.  Ar3sts  appropriate  the  
form  of  stamps  and  subvert  stamps’  
commercializa3on.    

Exhibi2on  

Stamp  Collec2ons  
 

Are  these  stamps?    

Exhibi2on  

Stamp  Collec2ons  

Ar3stamps  

Exhibi2on  

Stamp  Collec2ons  

Ar3stamps    
 
Proposal  for  Purchase  

Exhibi2on  

Library  Exhibi2ons  

Case  study:  AMST  1510  

 

collec3ons  +  exhibi3ons  

Library  Exhibi2ons  

Case  study:  AMST  1510  

 

research  /  perspec3ves  

Library  Exhibi2ons  

Case  study:  AMST  1510  

 

beyond  rarity  
-­‐networked  research  
-­‐visual  teaching  

Library  Exhibi2ons  
 

Case  study:  AMST  1510  

Library  Exhibi2ons  

Case  study:  AMST  1510  

 

digi3za3on  projects  /    
gallery  technology  

Library  Exhibi2ons  
 

Case  study:  AMST  1510  

Library  Exhibi2ons  

Case  study:  AMST  1510  

 

engaging  library  users    
-­‐presenta3on  
-­‐programs  

Collec2ons  
Management  and  
Development  Plans  
 

What  are  the  goals  for  these  
collec3ons?    

What  are  the  audiences?    

How  can  these  collec3ons  
become  beUer  known?    How  
to  get  more  students  to  use  
them?    
 

How  should  they  be  
cataloged?  How  should  they  
be  made  accessible?    

What’s  the  best  curatorial  
structure  for  them?    

What  should  be  
deaccessioned,  what  should  
be  acquired?  How  should  the  
collec3on  be  shaped  for  future  
use?  

Historic  scien2fic  
instruments    
 

Pain2ngs  in  the  
Annmary  Brown  
Memorial  

Stamp  collec2ons    

Use  as  teaching  collec3on  in  
history  of  art  and  museums  
 
Connect  with  other  Brown  art  
and  ar3facts  

Re-­‐imagine  as  teaching  collec-­‐
3on;    new  collec3ng  agenda  
 
Connect  with  other  Hay  
collec3ons  

 
Make  the  departments  beUer  
aware  of  their  value  
 
Keep  decentralized  but  offer  
support  for  collec3ons  

 

-­‐  

Historic  scien2fic  
instruments    
 

Pain2ngs  in  the  
Annmary  Brown  
Memorial  

Stamp  collec2ons    

Improved  catalog  of  pain3ngs  
and  other  ar3facts.    
 
Proposal  for  use  of  Annmary  
Brown  Memorial  

Exhibi3on  opens  January  
 
Collec3ons  development  
proposal  and  publicity  plan    

 
Drae  database  of  instruments  
 
Exhibi3on  in  Rockefeller  
Library