Introduction to Museum Studies, A403

Fall Semester, 2009


Dr. Larry J. Zimmerman

MSTD A-403, Sec 16431

TH 6:00 PM-8:40 PM, CA 411

Office: 433 Cavanaugh                                                                  

(317) 274-2383                                                                                           or through OnCourse


Office Hours: Generally Tues, Wed, Thur 9 AM-Noon ; Thurs 3:00-4:15 PM.  I'm usually available immediately before and after class; other hours by appointment. I am available many other times throughout the week, so if you are in CA, feel free to stop in. However, if you are making a special trip, it’s wise to call ahead. I will try to be in during my scheduled office hours, but sometimes have to leave for other obligations.  If you are having trouble finding me, do send an e-mail or catch me at class.

Please feel free to e-mail, phone, or meet with me if you have any questions or concerns throughout the semester. In general, e-mail is the best way to reach me. I also have a mailbox in CA413 if you need to drop something off.


Course Description:

This survey of museum studies introduces students to the history of museums and to debates on the philosophical nature of museums.  The course covers the types and definitions of museums.  It discusses contemporary practice in museums, and examines current issues in the museum profession as it faces the future of museums in the twenty-first century.  The course explores museums’ missions and their roles in society through case studies and exhibitions in a variety of museums including art, history, and ethnographic museums.


Course Objectives:

At the end of the course, the student should be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the history and organization of museums
  • Debate museum ethical issues
  • Discuss critically, in written and verbal form, current issues in the philosophy of museums, museum missions, representation of the past, interpretation of cultural objects, and the role of museums in society
  • Critically evaluate a museum exhibition
  • Locate the core museum studies literature, principal museum organizations, and museum reference sources including on-line resources
  • Work collaboratively with others in team based learning and problem solving
  • Articulate why museums matter in a self-reflective essay


Course Requirements:

  • Complete assigned readings and web visits
  • Attend regularly and participate actively in discussions, presentations, and exercises
  • Complete three reflective essays
  • Complete museum PowerPoint
  • Participate in two Ethics Bowls in capacities of scenario writers, moderators, judges, and debaters (The ethics bowl URL is


If you have any questions about any of these assignments, please see Dr. Zimmerman well in advance of the due dates.


Course Evaluation:

Undergraduate students’ grades will be based on a student's total score out of a possible 100 points weighted in the following manner:

            Participation in presentations, discussions and exercises           5 pts.

            Reflective essays in Assignments 1-3  (3 @ 20pts. each)           60  pts

            Ethics Bowls participation/essay (see guide for details)            10 pts.

Assignment 4 PowerPoint                                                                               25 pts.


                                                            Total possible points                         100 pts.


The grading scale:

100-98 = A+    

93-97   = A

90-92   = A-

88-89   = B+

83-87   = B

80-82   = B-

78-79   = C+

73-77   = C

70-72   = C-

68-69   = D+

63-67   = D

60-62       = D-

0-59           = F


Expectations, policies, and resources:

Your participation:

·         It is expected that students will contribute their ideas, thoughts, and reflections to class discussions, and will listen respectfully to the contributions of others in the class.

  • Relating to the IUPUI Principles of Undergraduate Learning, the class focuses on critical, self-reflective thinking, integrates knowledge from a variety of disciplinary and sociocultural perspectives, examines social and cultural complexity, and probes the impact of knowledge on ethical decision-making in museums. The value of the course will be determined by the extent that you intentionally and thoughtfully enter into the debates, discussions, critical reflections, and class projects.
  • It is expected that students will complete the assigned work in a thorough and timely manner.  If it appears that students are not prepared for class, unannounced quizzes may be given. This syllabus includes deadlines for all assignments and details of in-museum classes: it is your responsibility to know when assignments are due and where classes are scheduled. Late assignments will be penalized a half letter grade for every week they are late unless arrangements have been discussed and approved prior to the due date.
  • It is expected that essays will represent thoughtful and close examination of museum sites and exhibits.  It is expected that research projects will reflect scholarly research, original thinking, and independent direction.  (Dr. Zimmerman  is available during offices hours and by appointment or via e-mail for consultation or assistance.  Please do not hesitate to come and talk or ask questions about any aspect of the class)
  • It is expected that students will make every effort to attend all classes, especially those meeting in museums, and will notify Dr. Zimmerman as soon as possible in the event they must miss class or an assignment deadline due to an emergency (this is especially the case for the ethics bowls!).  Absence in more than three classes may severely affect the final grade (after all, three classes is fully 20% of the class meetings!). Participation grade represents both attendance and active engagement in class activities. In the event of an emergency or illness that keeps you from attending class, please send me an e-mail as soon as possible so that I have a record of your excused absence. I do not need doctor’s documentation; I trust your ethics, your seriousness of purpose, and your commitment to your own education.


Course mechanics, communication, and technical details

  • All written work is to be word-processed, double-spaced, and is to follow scholarly conventions of academic writing (i.e. proper citations, grammar, no contractions, etc.).  Writing matters in museum work and in life. You may use any common style guide you wish (MLA, Chicago, AAA, etc.) as long as you use it consistently. Use your spell and grammar checkers. They aren’t always perfect, but they can help.
  • Unless otherwise noted, written assignments should be submitted electronically using the OnCourse Drop Box or as e-mail attachments in Word format to prior to class on the due date listed in the syllabus. Late submission will be penalized unless prior arrangements have been discussed and approved.
  • For classes meeting in museums only pencil may be used (i.e. no ink pens) due to conservation concerns. In most cases you will be asked not to bring your backpacks or large bags into exhibition areas. Leave them in your car or at home, and just bring a notebook.
  • Because of the collaborative nature of the class and the fact we frequently meet off campus, close communication will be essential.  Please regularly check On-Course messages and announcements for course announcements, especially on the day of a class, to keep apprised of any announcements or last minute changes. Any changes to the syllabus will be made to the on-line syllabus. Please use e-mail  for the promptest response. 
  • Following university policy, students are responsible for activity on their computer accounts. Protect your password and be certain you are logged off when you leave a public computer.
  • Students will fulfill their responsibilities and maintain standards of intellectual honesty in keeping with the academic policies of the University (see Student Code of Conduct available at  ) Any instance of plagiarism or other violation of the standards of intellectual honesty will result in a zero for the assignment and, depending on the nature of the incident, further disciplinary action.
  • If you have learning problems that might require special accommodation for completion of class assignments, please notify me of these matters within the first two or three class periods. I’ll make every effort to make things work for you. You may wish to contact Adaptive Educational Services (AES), Cavanaugh Hall, Suite 001E , 425 University Blvd., Indianapolis, IN 46202–5140, Tel: (317) 274–3241, TDD/TTY: (317) 278–2050, Fax: (317) 278–2051, Email: Staff there can provide a range of assistance.

·         If you have a problem you don't know how to solve, the Student Advocate Office may be of help. They will answer your questions, direct you to the appropriate departments and people, familiarize you with university policies and procedures, and give you guidance as you look at ways to solve problems and make choices. The Student Advocate Office is located in UC002 and can be contacted by phone at 278-7594 or email at For more information, see the Student Advocate website at:

·         This is a large university and there are lots of policies and rules. I recommend the “Registrar’s Home Page” which is a useful source of information and suggest you bookmark Please also note that as of August 14, 2006, IUPUI became a smoke free campus.  For more information see: For information regarding drop/add policies and dates see:


Class Web Site: This class has a well-developed web site in support of the class. You will find it linked from the class OnCourse site. The url is Be sure to look at it regularly.


OnCourse: The class uses "OnCourse," an academic courseware. OnCourse provides you with an on-line syllabus, grade book, and a way of communicating with fellow students through threaded discussions, chat, or e-mail.  The grade book is an especially helpful way of checking the status of your assignments.  Please check it regularly to see what assignments have been handed in.  Please contact me if you believe there are problems. The Resources tool will have posted PowerPoint presentations and pdf files of the readings.


The latest Quick Start guide, titled OnCourse CL Quick Start Guide: For Students  is linked on the OnCourse CL Training & Support page as a printable PDF file and ready for use.              []


Readings:  All readings are on-line (on the web or pdf files posted to OnCourse) unless otherwise noted. The learning objectives in this course are realized through experiential problem-based learning and through the exploration and application of ideas and concepts encountered in readings and class presentations.  For you to be able to discuss, analyze, integrate, and apply the new ideas and concepts it is critical that you read the arguments of the authors closely and critically in advance of the class where we discuss them.  The class only meets once a week, so leave yourself time to read and digest the material each week.  The readings are available on-line or on the OnCourse Resources page as pdf files and sometimes on the course web site.  About the readings:  There are more readings on some weeks than others. On some weeks there seem to be lots of readings but relatively few pages.  I’ve put an * by the essential readings. Get through those at least, but you can probably skim the others.  


Web site visits:  Students must visit the web sites listed in the syllabus and be prepared to comment in class on the sites’ relevance to the issues being addressed in that week's discussion or, where noted, be familiar with the site as a professional resource.


For those who are considering  becoming a museum professional, I encourage you to join and contribute to one or more museum networking sites. I particularly like Museum 3.0 at: as a place for debate on current issues and topics. The Emerging Museum Professional site is also a great resource for building your professional network. There's no local chapter, yet, but you could be an instigator and form one! (     


Museum Visits: In addition to the class meetings in museums, you are required to visit museums on your own to complete assignments.  A selected list of area museums is on the course web site.  These museums are one of our greatest teaching resources for the class, so please allow enough time to look, listen, think, and learn.


Regarding costs – There is no lab fee and or textbook cost, but you will probably need to pick up the expense of parking and/or admission for some of your museum visits. Some museums, such as the Indiana Historical Society and the IMA are free to anyone. The Eiteljorg Museum is  free to anyone with an IUPUI JagTag.  For museums that charge admission, such as the Indiana State Museum, Conner Prairie, the Indianapolis Zoo, and The Children’s Museum, you should check out student rates and the annual membership price.  Often it pays to join as a member if you expect to come more than twice or have a family. We may also partner with the Museum Studies club on a fall field trip – stay tuned for more details….


The Ethics Bowl: The ethics bowl is designed as a fun, team-based way to connect the principles of ethical museum practice to the realities of museum work. We will discuss more details in class and you can also consult the web site:


Summary of class schedule, topics, location, and due dates

Tentative schedule – see OnCourse and web site for updates




Assignments DUE

Aug. 27


Stereotypes and how we think about museums and why they matter

VIDEO: A Night at the Museum

CA 411/6:00

·         Divide into teams for Sept 3 assignments

Sept. 3

What is a museum?: Legal, historical,  organizational and ethical contexts; stakeholders missions

Introduction to the Ethics Bowl (joint w/A403)

CA 411/6:00

·         Team presentations on web sites

Sept. 10

Serving communities and representing the past: history and heritage

Special presentation by Karen Zimmerman: "Resources for museum research"

CA 435/6:00



·         Written definitions of communities and stakeholders

·         See Assignment #1 below

Sept. 17

CASE STUDY: Indiana Historical Society, Trina Nelson Thomas, guest speaker

CA435/ 6:00


·         Scenario drafts for Ethics Bowl #1

·         Post name of museum for PowerPoint and any team members for Assignment #4

Sept. 24

Thinking about objects and contexts: Where do objects get their meaning

VIDEO: In and Out of Africa (in class); Mr. Dial Has Something to Say  (watch online before class)

CA 435/6:00

·         Prepare for Ethics Bowl #1 (on-going)

·         ASSIGNMENT #1: Museum, communities, stakeholders essay

Oct. 1

Case Study: Curators, exhibits, and objects - Indianapolis Museum of Art; African Gallery

Dial curator



·         Prepare for Ethics Bowl #1 (on-going)

·         Preliminary list of sources for Assignment #4 submitted

Oct. 8

First Ethics Bowl (details to follow)


CA – various rooms

·         Ethics bowl #1


Oct. 15

collections and Collecting – idea, history, practice


CA 411/6:00


·         Scenario drafts for Ethics Bowl #2

Oct. 16-17

IMA Symposium: Sacred and Profane in The Early Modern Hispanic World

Friday at IMA /

Sat at IUB

·         Recommended, but not required

Oct. 22

Objects, memory, and sites of conscience

Video: Objects & Memory

 CA 411

·         Prepare for Ethics Bowl #2 (on-going)

Oct. 29

Who owns the past: Cultural property, cultural patrimony and representation

VIDEOS: Minik: The Lost Eskimo; Return of the Sacred Pole


·         ASSIGNMENT #2: Museums and conscience

Nov. 5

Case Study “Take me There: Egypt” at The Children’s Museum

The Children’s Museum/6:00


Nov. 12

Second Ethics Bowl

CA – various rooms

Nov. 14

Eiteljorg Native American Fellowship Symposium: Art Quantum

Eiteljorg Museum

·         Recommended, but not required

Nov. 19

Case Study: the Eiteljorg Museum’s Native American Fellowship  [Jennifer Complo-McNutt/Ashely Holland]

Eiteljorg Museum/6:00

·         ASSIGNMENT #3: Why museums matter

·         Submit draft PowerPoint for Assignment #4

Nov. 26




Dec. 3

Video /Graduate Presentations (Zimmerman away to AAA meetings)



Dec. 10

Brief  PowerPoint Presentations & Concluding discussion

CA411/6:00, then 435

·        Assignment #4  Final PowerPoints due

Dec 14 No late assignments accepted after 5:00 PM w/o prior arrangement!    


Tentative Schedule of Classes and Assignments

*indicates essential readings/web sites


AUGUST 27:  Week 1 — Introduction to course goals and structure; overview of museum studies; how we think about museums and why they matter


Watch “Night at the Museum” (the original one) if you haven’t already seen it. The movie is available from Netflicks, libraries, and local video rental stores. You could even get together for a movie night!, We will use the film for class discussion about perceptions about the value of museums, stereotypes of museum professionals, and other themes


Divide into 3 teams for 9/3 presentations.


September 3:  Week 2 ― What is a museum? Missions and mission statements, Legal, historical, organizational and ethical contexts; stakeholders; ethics bowl

DUE: team presentations (see below)


Three teams will present in class:

Team A) Using the web, review museum sites that include a mission statement.  Explore their activities, programs, collections, etc. to see how they live into that mission. Then pick a museum for each of the criteria below. Prior to class, post the URLs to the OnCourse forum where you will find a topic set up for each of the five criteria. In class, present your selections and explain your rationale with supporting evidence from the web site.

·         Museum you think provides the greatest benefit to its community (however "community" is defined)

·         Museum that you think shouldn't exist

·         Museum you find most inspiring

·         Museum you find most bizarre

·         Museum you would most like to work in (these can be individual selections for each team member)


      Teams B&C) Teams B and C will visit sites from either the Civil War or the Edison museums and present a brief analysis of the museums, comparing and contrasting each museum’s mission, interpretive stance, and relationship to its community. The presentations should be concise (no more than 10 minutes) and visual (either PPT or with live feed to the web sites), so divide the work and coordinate your presentation.

Team B: Civil War related museums

·         Museum of the Confederacy:

·         National Museum of the Civil War Soldier:

·         Gettysburg National Battlefield Park

·         Valley of the Shadow Project:

·         Colonel Eli Lilly Civil War Museum:


            Team C: Thomas A. Edison related museums

·         Edison Birthplace Museum:

·         Edison National Historic Site:

·         Edison-Ford Winter Estates:

·         Thomas A. Edison Menlo Park Museum:


            American Association of Museums (AAM): What is a museum?


*Kenneth Hudson, “Attempts to Define ‘Museum’” In Representing the Nation: A Reader (London: Routledge, 1999), 371-379.


Excellence and Equity, pp.3-15


*Gail Anderson, Museum Mission Statements: Building a Distinct Identity. pp.12-17. (Washington: AAM, 1998).


Carol Duncan, “From the Princely Gallery to the Public Art Museum: The Louvre Museum and the National Gallery, London” In Representing the Nation: A Reader (London: Routledge, 1999), 304-331.


Tony Bennett, “The Exhibitionary Complex,” In Representing the Nation: A Reader (London: Routledge, 1999), 332- 361.


Charles Coleman Sellers.  Ch. 1 “A New Science for a New Era,” In Mr. Peale’s Museum: Charles Willson Peale and the First Popular Museum of Natural Science and Art (WW. Norton and Co., 1979), 1-20.


*Weil, Stephen, “From Being about Something to Being for Somebody: The Ongoing Transformation of the American Museum.” In Making Museums Matter (Washington: Smithsonian Institution, 2002), pp.28-52.


*Duncan F. Cameron, “The Museum, a Temple or Forum” Reinventing the Museum, pp.61-79.


*ICOM Code of Ethics (for familiarity with topics covered by the code)  Hint: handy for the ethics bowl


*AAM Code of Ethics (for familiarity with topics covered by the code) Hint: handy for the ethics bowl


Web Sites: (for general familiarity with professional organizations and resources)

International Coalition of Sites of Conscience:


                AAM American Association of Museums: (for general resource and ref.)


ICOM International Council of Museums (for general resource and ref.)


In addition, all students should visit at least three of these sites to be familiar with their variety of missions and museum activities. Try to find the mission statement and then see how they realize that mission through their spaces, programs, collections, exhibits and other activities.

¨       El Museo del Barrio:

¨       The Exploratorium:

¨       United States Holocaust Memorial Museum:

¨       Te Papa Museum,

¨       Lower East Side Tenement Museum:

¨       Wing Luke Asian Museum:

¨       The Metropolitan Museum of Art:

¨       Science Museum of Minnesota:

¨       The Mashantucket Pequot Museum, Connecticut:



SEPTEMBER 10:  Week 3 — Serving communities and representing the past: history and heritage

DUE: Assignment 1: What is a community? Who are stakeholders? (see assignments below)

Special presentation by Karen Zimmerman: "Resources for museum research"



*Richard Handler and Eric Gable, “Why History Changes, or Two Theories of History Making” (Chapter 3) The New History in an Old Museum: Creating the Past at Colonial Williamsburg, (Durham: Duke University Press, 1997) pp.50-77.


*David Lowenthal, “Fabricating Heritage” History & Memory 10, no. 1 (1998): 5-24.


Dell Upton, “Authentic Anxieties,” in Consuming Tradition, Manufacturing Heritage: Global Norms and Urban Forms in the Age of Tourism, ed. Nezar AlSayyad (Hampshire: Ashgate, 2001), 300-301.


*Laurajane Smith and Emma Waterton, Ch. 1 “Heritage, Communities and Archaeology: A History,” In Heritage, Communities and Archaeology (London: Duckworth , 2009), 21-40.


Rhiannon Mason, “Conflict and Complement: An Exploration of the Discourses Informing the Concept of the Socially Inclusive Museum in Contemporary Britain,” International Journal of Heritage Studies 10, no.1 (March 2004), 49-73


*Ron Chew, “Taking Action: Advocates? Or Curators of Advocacy?” Museum News          March/April 2004, pp. 38-43.


Read one (or more if you want!) of the following case studies and be prepared to summarize them for class discussion:

“West as America”

Alan Wallach, “The Battle over ‘The West as America’” In Exhibiting Contradiction: Essays on the Art Museum in the United States (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1998), 105-117.


*Enola Gay

Edward Linenthal, “Anatomy of a Controversy” In History Wars: The Enola Gay and Other Battles for the American Past, ed. By Edward T. Linenthal and Tom Engeljardt (New York: Metropolitan Books,  1994), 9-62.


Vera L. Zolberg, Museums as Contested Sites of Remembrance: the Enola Gay Affair In Theorizing Museums: Representing Identity and Diversity in a Changing World eds. Sharon Macdonald and Gordan Fyfe (Oxford: Blackwell, 1996), 69-82.


New Zealand/Maori

Moira Simpson, “From Treasure House to Museum…and Back,” From Making Representations: Museums in the Post-Colonial Era. Routledge, 2001. pp. 107-133.


SEPTEMBER 17:  Week 4  Case Study: Indiana Historical Society

Guest Speaker: Trina Nelson Thomas

[NOTE - most case studies meet in the museum, but this class will meet in Cavanaugh Hall due to construction at IHS]

DUE: Scenario drafts for Ethics Bowl #1 (email to both and



*Indiana Historical Society, Annual Report (pdf on OnCourse) and general background,   


Stephen E. Weil “A Success/Failure Matrix for Museums.” Museum News Jan/Feb 2005, pp.36-40.


*David Carr, “Museums and Public Trust” The Promise of Cultural Institutions, (Walnut Creek, Alta Mira, 2003), pp.109-130.


Spencer R. Crew and James E. Sims “Locating Authenticity: Fragments of a Dialogue” In Exhibiting Culture: The Poetics and Politics of Museum Display, pp.159-175.


*Stephen D. Lavine, “Audience, Ownership, and Authority: Designing Relations Between Museums and Communities” In Museums and Communities: the Politics of Public Culture (Washington, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1992), 137-157.


Web Sites

For familiarity with professional organizations and resources visit:

·         American Association of State and Local History:

·         American Historical Association:



SEPTEMBER 24:  Week 5:  Thinking about objects and contexts

DUE: Assignment 1: What is a community? Who are stakeholders? (see assignments below) e-mailed to Dr. Zimmerman by start of class


Video: In and Out of Africa (in-class viewing); Mr. Dial has Something to Say” (view before class, streaming video online)



*Elaine Heumann Gurian, “What is the Object of This Exercise?: A Meandering Exploration of the Many Meanings of Objects in Museums” Reinventing the Museum, pp.269-283.


*Christine F. Kreps,Ch. 2 “The Eurocentric Museum Model in the Non-European World” and Ch. 3 “Indigenous Models of Museums, Curation, and Concepts of Cultural Heritage Preservation”  In Liberating Culture: Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Museums, Curation and Heritage Preservation. (London: Routledge, 2003).


*Edmund Barry Gaither, “Hey! That’s Mine”: Thoughts on Pluralism and American Museums” Museums and Communities: The Politics of Public Culture, (1992) pp.56-64.


Susan Vogel “Always True to the Object, in Our Fashion.” Exhibiting Cultures, pp.191-204


Lisa G. Corrin, “Mining the Museum: An Installation in Confronting History” Reinventing the Museum, pp. 248-263.


Recommended Readings:

*Aufderheide,  Patricia,  Shifting Narratives and Mutable Meanings: In and Out of Africa. American Anthropologist 1994, 96 (4): 956-958.


Nichols, Bill “Dislocating Ethnographic Film: In and Out of Africa and Issues of Cultural Representation.” American Anthropologist 1997, 99 (4): 810-824

*“Mr. Dial Has Something to Say” – Alabama Public Television web site



OCTOBER 1:  Week 6:Case Study: Curators, Exhibits and Objects: African Art at the Indianapolis Museum of Art

Meet: At IMA’s main entrance at 6:00 and we will proceed to the African Art Gallery



Harriet Warkel, Blog Posts, Indianapolis Museum of Art





Anthony Shelton, “Curating African Worlds” In Museums and Source Communities, eds. Laura Peers and Alison K. Brown (London: Routledge, 2003), pp.181-193.


Baxandall, Michael, “Exhibiting Intentions: Some Preconditions of the Visual Display of Culturally Purposeful Objects.”  In Exhibiting Cultures, pp.33-41.


Moira G. Simpson, “Voices of Authorship” In Making Representations: Museums in the Post-Colonial Era, rev. ed. (London: Routledge, 1996, 2001) pp.51-69.


Web Site

Indianapolis Museum of Art:

                Read for background as well as mission and support statement (at bottom of page)


For familiarity with professional organizations and resources visit:

·         NAME (National Association of Museum Exhibition):

·         Curator’s Committee (an SPC of AAM):

·         Association of Art Museum Curators:

·         College Art Association:

·         Association of Art Museum Directors:


OCTOBER 8:  Week 7 ― First Ethics Bowl



OCTOBER 15:  Week 8 — Collections and collecting: idea, history, practice

DUE: Assignment 2 (see below)

DUE: Scenario drafts for Ethics Bowl #2 (email to both and



*Mihaly Csikszentmihaly, “Why we need things,” in History from Things: Essays on Material Culture, ed. Steven Lubar and W. David Kingery (Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1993), 22-23.


Susan Pearce, “Collecting Process,” On  Collecting: an Investigation into Collecting in the European Tradition ( London: Routledge, 1995), 3-35..


Janet Owen, “Collecting Artefacts, Acquiring Empire; Exploring the relationship between Enlightenment and Darwinist Collecting and Late-Nineteenth-Century British Imperialism.” Journal of the History of Collections, vol. 18, no. 1 (2006), 9-25.


Ken Hillis, “Auctioning the Authentic: eBay, Narrative Effect, and the Superfluity of Memory,” In Everyday eBay: Culture, Collecting, and Desire, eds. Ken Hillis, Michael Petit and Nathan Scott Epley (New York: Routledge, 2006), 167-184.


*Christopher Chippindale and David W. J. Gill, “Material Consequences of Contemporary Classical Collecting” American Journal of Archaeology, Vol. 104, No. 3 (Jul., 2000), pp. 463-511.


*Stephen Weil, “Collecting Then, Collecting Today; What’s the Difference?,” In Making Museums Matter (Washington: Smithsonian Institution, 2002), pp.141-150.

Stephen Weil, “Twenty-One Ways to Buy Art,” In Making Museums Matter (Washington: Smithsonian Institution, 2002), pp.151-155


*Nic Poole, “Social Media and Social History” Blog post about “citizen curators” at:



Read one (or more if you want!) of the following six case studies:


·         Deanna MacDonald, “Collecting a New World: The Ethnographic Collections of Margaret of Austria,” The Sixteenth Century Journal, Vol. 33, No. 3 (Autumn, 2002), pp. 649-663.

·         Andrew McClellan, “The Luxembourg Gallery, 1750-79” In Inventing the Louvre: Art, Politics, and the Origins of the Modern Museum in Eighteenth-Century Paris (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994), 13-48.

·          “Augustus Henry Pitt-Rivers Describes Classification and Typology” In The Collector’s Voice: Imperial Voices, eds. Susan Pearce, Rosemary Flanders, Mark Hall, and Fiona Morton (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2002), 59-64. (see also the Pitt-Rivers Museum web site: and the details of their recent reinstallation).

·         Molly Lee, “Tourism and Taste Cultures: Collecting Native Art in Alaska at the Turn of the Twentieth Century In Unpacking Culture: Art and Commodity in Colonial and Postcolonial Worlds, eds. Ruth B. Phillips and Christopher Steiner (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999).

·         Gabriel Moshenska, "A Hard Rain: Children's Shrapnel Collections in the Second World War," Journal of Material Culture. 2008; 13: 107-125.

·         Lisa Bloom, “The Contradictory Circulation of Fine Art and Antiques on eBay,” In Everyday eBay: Culture, Collecting, and Desire, eds. Ken Hillis, Michael Petit and Nathan Scott Epley (New York: Routledge, 2006), 231-243.


Web Visits

*Center for the History of Collecting in America,


OCTOBER 16-17: IMA Symposium "Sacred and Profane in the Early Modern Hispanic World" (Friday at the IMA; Saturday at Indiana University, Bloomington) Details will be given in class. This symposium is strongly recommended, but not required, for undergraduate students. It s a opportunity to learn more about a major exhibition at the IMA and a chance to experience an aspect of museum curators’ scholarly responsibilities and a museum's contributions to research in the field.









OCTOBER 22: Objects, Memory, and Sites of Conscience


Video: Objects and Memory




*Heidi Kenaga, “Public Monuments and Popular Commemoration,”  in Material Culture in America: Understanding Everyday Life,  ed. by  Helen Sheumaker and Shirley Teresa Wajda (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO) pp. 371-378.


*Sarah A. Ogilvie, “Lessons Learned from Memorial Museums and Sites of Conscience: A Study of Best Practices and Guiding Principles,”


*John Barnes, “The Struggle to Control the Past: Commemoration, Memory, and the Bear River Massacre of 1863,” The Public Historian, 2008. 30(1): 81-104


*Liz Evenko and Maggie Russell-Ciardi, “Foreword”  to Special issue of The Public Historian, Sites of Conscience: Opening Historic Sites for Civic Dialogue, 2008. 30(1): 9-15.


*Larry J. Zimmerman,  Plains Indians and Resistance to “Public” Heritage Commemoration of Their Pasts. In, Cultural Heritage and Human Rights edited by H. Silverman and D. Fairchild Ruggles, (New York: Springer, 2007). pp. 144-158.  See also the PowerPoint in Resources


Web Visits:

*National September 11th Memorial and Museum at the World Trade Center


*Plans for WTC Memorial Dogged by Controversy. Read brief story and listen to Laura Sydell report on NPR.


Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site.


Robben Island Museum.


International Coalition of Sites of Conscience.  See also the YouTube video at


OCTOBER 29:  Week 10 -- Who owns the past: Cultural property, cultural patrimony and representation

DUE: Assignment #2 (reflective essay on museums and conscience) e-mailed to Dr. Zimmerman. Post on OnCourse


Videos:  The Return of the Sacred Pole; Minik: The Lost Eskimo



*Martin E. Sullivan, “Some Thoughts About Museums, Reconciliation, and Healing,” in Stewards of the Sacred, ed. Lawrence E. Sullivan and Alison Edwards (Washington DC: American Association of Museums, 2004), pp. 19-25


Marilyn Nelson, Fortune’s Bones: The Manumission Requiem. (Asheville, North Carolina, Front Street, 2004), 1-32.


Jan Bernstein and Isabel Tovar, “A Day in the Life: Collections Manager and NAGPRA Coordinator”   2003


*David Hurst Thomas, Ch. 9 “Collecting Your Fossils Alive” and Ch. 10 “Is Real History Embedded in Oral Tradition?” In Skull Wars (New York: Basic Books, 2000), pp. 77-101.


*Gwyneira Issac, “What are our expectations telling us? Encounters with the NMAI,” American Indian Quarterly, 2006, 30(4):574-596


*Andrew Guillford, Native Americans and Museums: Curation and Repatriation of Sacred and Tribal Objects.  From, Sacred Objects and Sacred Places: Preserving Tribal Traditions. University Press of Colorado, 2000, pp. 40-66.


Karl E. Meyer  “Who (Really) Owns the Past?” World Policy Issue 23(1) Spring 2006

[Online at  of OnCourse Resources]


*Ethics of Acquisition. ICOM. (1970).


Web Visits: (sites will be drawn on in class discussion)


Recommended Readings:


Neil Brodie & David Gill, “Looting: An International View” in Ethical Issues in Archaeology, edited by Zimmerman, Vitelli, and Hollowell-Zimmer. AltaMira Press. 2003, pp. 31-44. [OnCourse Resources]


Neil Brodie, US art museum accessions” Culture Without Context, Issue 18, 2006. [OnCourse Resources] or URL:


Statement by the President of ICOM on current legal actions against museums for the return of illegally exported cultural property (especially Italy Vs the J Paul Getty Museum) [Online at]



November 5:  Week 11 Case Study: The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis - Deciding what exhibits to invest in and why: Where mission meets market and "Take me There Egypt"

Meet: The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis at 6:00

Guest Speaker: Jennifer Pace Robinson, Vice President, Experience Development and Family Learning

DUE: Assignment #3 (Reflective essay on Why museums matter) e-mail to Dr. Zimmerman and posted on OnCourse Forum



*Falk, John H. and Beverly K. Shepherd, Chap. 1 In Thriving in the Knowledge Age: New Business Models for Museums and Other Cultural Institutions


Robert W. Rydell, “The Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893: ‘And Was Jerusalem Builded Here?’” In Representing the Nation: A Reader (London: Routledge, 1999), 273-303.


*Steven Conn, “Between Science and Art: Museums and the Development of Anthropology,” In Museums and American Intellectual Life, 1876-1926 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998), 73-113.


Web Visits

            The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis: (for general background information plus directions if you need them!)


NOVEMBER 12:  Week 12 Second Ethics Bowl




NOVEMBER 14: Eiteljorg Fellowship Symposium: Art Quantum – Undergraduate students are strongly encouraged (but not required) to attend this day-long symposium at the Eiteljorg Museum. Admission to the symposium is free. There is a charge for a box lunch, or you can get food on your own at the Sky City café or an eatery in the area.







NOVEMBER 19:  Week 13 CASE STUDY: The Eiteljorg Native American Fellowship

DUE: Assignment 3 (20 points)

DUE: Submit draft PPT to Zimmerman

Meet : at the Eiteljorg Museum front entrance at 6:00

Guest Speaker: Jennifer Complo-McNutt, Curator of Contemporary Art


Additional readings to be announced


                Fellowship Symposium Overview [on OnCourse]


Juane Quck-to-See Smith, keynote address, Eiteljorg Fellowship, 2007 (see also interactive timeline)


Paul Chaat Smith, Everything You Know About Indians is Wrong (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2009), 69-102


Eiteljorg Fellowship web page Forum (note – posting requires creating a user profile and signing in)



Web Visits: (for familiarity with museum’s mission and history and the background on the Fellowship)

Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art:


NOVEMBER 26: NO CLASS    Happy Thanksgiving!


DECEMBER 3:  Week 14-View video and graduate student posters

DUE: Video: to be announced in first half of class

During the last half of the class, we will be invited to the graduate student section for their poster presentations which are examining similar questions about museums.


DECEMBER 10:  Week 15 ― Concluding discussion

DUE: PowerPoints presentations



Sharon Macdonald and Roger Silverstone, “Rewriting the Museum’s Fictions: Taxonomies, Stories and Readers,” In Representing the Nation: A Reader (London: Routledge, 1999), 421-434.


James Clifford, “Museums as Contact Zones” In Representing the Nation: A Reader (London: Routledge, 1999), 435-457.


Charles Correa, “Museums: An Alternate Typology,” Daedalus: Journal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, vol. 128, no. 3 (Summer 1999): 327-332.


Angelina Russo, “Agents of Cultural Change” April 20, 2009 Guest blogger posting on Digital Heritage: Centre for Museology, University of Manchester [see copy on OnCourse if blog is no longer available online]


Blogs and Forums: “What’s the buzz and where are museums going?

Brooklyn Museum Blogosphere:


Ning Museum 3.0 Forum:



December 14 5:00  No late paper accepted after this time without prior arrangement!


Written assignments

A403 - Introduction to Museum Studies


Assignment 1: Communities and stakeholders

Due: September 24, 2009 (submit by e-mail to Dr. Zimmerman and post to OnCourse Forum)

Points: 20

Length: (about 3 pages/ 750 words)


This reflective essay (not a research paper!) asks you to respond to the questions: 1) "What is a community?” 2) “Who are stakeholders?" 3) “What rights should they have to their heritage?” Consider the communities to which you are now, or at sometime have been, a stakeholder, particularly those that have a heritage of which they might be proud or at least in which they are interested. As part of this, you should offer your own definitions of community and stakeholders, then do a brief analysis of  at least one of these communities. Do you think members would be upset if their heritage were misrepresented by outsiders or if they weren’t consulted about it? Has that ever happened? If so, what reaction did they have? If not, what reaction do you think they would have?


Assignment 2: Museums and Conscience

Due: October 29, 2009 (submit Dr. Zimmerman and post to OnCourse forum)

Points: 20

Length: (3 pages/ 750 words)

Directions: This reflective essay asks you to respond to the question, "What is a museum of conscience?" You may draw on the authors we have read and the museums you’ve visited, but you should be sure to consult the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience as one of your sources  In addition to submitting your essay for me to read, please post it to OnCourse so your colleagues in the class can read it and we can refer to our different perspectives during the discussion of the panels in the last class.


Assignment 3: Why Museums Matter

Due: November 19, 2009 (submit by e-mail to Dr. Zimmerman and post on OnCourse forum)

Points: 20

Length: (3 pages/750 words)

Directions: This reflective essay asks you to respond to two questions: “Why do museums matter?” and “How do I want my work to matter for museums and their communities?” You may draw on the authors we have read and the museums you’ve visited, as well as other sources that have inspired or discouraged you. In addition to submitting your essay for me to read, please post it to OnCourse so your colleagues in the class can read it and we can refer to our different perspectives during the discussion of the panels in the last class.


Assignment #4: A403 Museum Analysis PowerPoint Presentation Guidelines

Due: December 10 for all PowerPoints to be posted on OnCourse and presented in class

Points: 25


During the semester each of you will work independently or in small groups on a research project. The theme will relate to readings, issues, and case studies explored together in class, but your individual project will take you deeply into a particular institution’s history and will involve reading in primary and secondary sources that are relevant to your particular topic. (If small groups decide to collaborate, all students will receive the same grade and the project should show the amount of work that might be done by multiples students, i.e., if three students work together, you might expect it to be the detail of research—not necessarily length—that three people would produce.)



·         To build your  skills in research, writing, and oral presentation

·         To deepen your knowledge in the history of museums

·         To develop your  skills in analyzing and interpreting museum practices, particularly the political and cultural contexts of representing the past


·         Select a museum or related cultural institution (such as an historical society or tribal cultural center) anywhere in the world that is at least 5 years old. Be sure you will have access to enough sources to conduct the research.

·         Investigate primary and secondary sources to gather information about the institution’s mission, history, role in its community over time, and the nature of its collections, exhibitions, and programs.

·         Based on your research, prepare a 5-15 slide PowerPoint presentation taking no more than 7-10 minutes to present, analyzing the institution’s structure, impact, and relevance on its community. Depending on the context of the museum, you can define “community” however you want – the local community, descendant community, the museum profession, the discipline (art, history, etc.), the nation, the industry, etc. Note:  the PowerPoint should not be a straight chronological narrative of the museum’s history. You may include a timeline or short summary of the institutional history, but the main part of your work should be analytical. Do include images where pertinent, and do include an additional slide or two at the end with your sources. Use the Notes fields on PowerPoints (At the bottom you’ll see Click to Add Notes) to provide additional information. This is not meant to be a formal research paper, but it is meant to provide information about a range of museums within the framework presented in the class.

·         Post your PowerPoint on the OnCourse Forum


Sept. 17      Submit institution name and names of team members if working collaboratively. To ensure there is no duplication of museums, please post your selections to OnCourse no later than this date. Before you post, check to see what your classmates have chosen. First come, first served.

Oct. 1          Submit preliminary list of sources and annotated bibliography of at least 5 key sources. Be certain that at least some of these are not web sites!

Nov. 19       Submit a draft of your PPT to Dr. Zimmerman for comments

Dec. 3          During second half we will attend grad student presentations.

Dec. 10       Brief PowerPoint presentations.  All final PowerPoints to be posted on Oncourse.

General points


·       Research skills are a significant part of a museum  education.  This assignment requires the identifying a museum of interest, locating appropriate sources, collecting relevant information, critically analyzing the information or data, and communicating that research in a formal presentation that incorporates text and images. This research process of finding and synthesizing information and communicating it visually in meaningful ways is a critical skill for museum work.


·       This assignment requires you to work relatively independently. It assumes that, as an advanced undergraduate student (it is a 400 level class!) , you have basic research skills (how to locate and properly cite relevant sources, develop logical outlines, present ideas clearly and persuasively).  If there are skills, such as PowerPoint, that you feel you would like more guidance on or if you just want to talk through your ideas or challenges of your research project, feel free to meet with me.  The Writing Center (Cavanaugh 4th floor) is also an excellent resource as are the reference librarians at the University Library.


·       This isn’t a formal research paper, but it is similar to the way ideas would be presented as part of a museum team in preparation of an exhibition, museum planning, or museum assessment.


·       You might also find that it can be fun!