AMS 391 • Cultural Representations of the Past
9:00 AM-12:00 PM
This is an interdisciplinary graduate seminar for students who wish to learn theoretical and practical skills used extensively by the National Park Service, museums, cultural nonprofit organizations and exhibit design firms. The class will employ a case study approach, focusing on a fieldwork based evaluation and project. Three-hour seminars will be held weekly. Several times during the semester the class will travel to the site. The class will read theoretical material about the selection and presentation of culture and history to the public. We will examine the role of the museum in society, issues of memory, gender, class, and ethnicity in representations of the past, the identification of landscape as museum, fieldwork issues, and we will touch upon virtual reality and the museum. We will specifically discuss the presentation of the past at several major American museums, as well as museums internationally, and the kind of cultural critiques being made of those institutions. Students will prepare written reviews of our case study site early in the semester. They will then write a project idea statement, and, after consultation with myself and the site, will develop a focused final project for the site. At the conclusion of the semester, I will assist those students who wish to prepare a grant proposal to more fully explore their work with the site.