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Art 202: Introduction to Museum Practices

Cuesta College
Fall 2015
CRN # 73410

Instructor: Megan Lorraine Debin


Email: megan_debin@cuesta.edu
Instagram: ProfD_ArtHistory
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cuesta-College-Art-History/826606237359002
Class location: Fine Arts, 7120
Class time: Tue & Thur, 12:00 pm 12:50 pm and 1:00 pm 2:20 pm
Office location: Fine Arts, 7131
Office hours: Mon 2:30 5:30pm; Tues & Thurs 3:00 4:00pm; or by appointment
I encourage all students to contact me with any questions concerning attendance, grades, class
procedures, and assignments. Please feel free to stop by my office hours or send me an email.

Course Description
Advisory: Eligibility for ENGL 201A and ART 203 or ART 204 or ART 205 or ART 206
This course introduces the history, functions, and professional practices of art museums. Includes
development of an art historical exhibition and accompanying text. Introduces curatorial and art
critical writing, including writing art reviews for publication. Transfer: CSU.
Note: Due to the nature of the course and the restricted enrollment capacity, this course will take
the format of a seminar, which involves the active participation of all members of the group in
lively discussion. Active participation requires that students come to class having completed all
the required reading before class. There will be regular lecture presentations; however, much
class time will be devoted to group and/or small group discussion, interactive learning (using
online resources), collaborative projects, and other non-traditional teaching practices.
This course is not about me teaching you facts. It is about our shared exploration of a range of
complex issues that we will get at through a set of readings, which will need to be analyzed,
unpacked, and thoughtfully debated in class. Therefore, your primary responsibility in this
course is to be an active, engaged participant in our discussions of the readings.
Art museums have emerged in recent decades as the most vibrant and popular of all cultural
institutions. This course traces the history of the art museum from its inception in the 18th
century to the present and explores contemporary debates as they have evolved in Europe and the
United States. We will discuss key aspects of museum theory and practice: ideals and mission;
architecture; collecting, classification, and display; the public; commercialism; and restitution
and repatriation.

Student Learning Outcomes


Upon completion of Art 202 the students should be able to:
1. Describe and analyze the mission and functions of art museums, as well as the
professional roles involved in working in museums.
2. Apply the principles of the various types of art writing to selected artworks and
exhibitions.
3. Discuss the major developments in the history of art museums as well as evaluate current
issues confronting museums.
4. Develop an art historical exhibition in collaboration with other students.

Required Materials
1. Andrew McClellan. The Art Museum from Boulle to Bilbao. UC Press, 2008.
2. Sylvan Barnet. A Short Guide to Writing About Art. Pearson, 2014.
3. Supplemental readings may be required and will be provided by the instructor in PDF
format and will be available on Moodle.
4. Supplementary materials may or may not be needed for group projects. The price of these
materials should not exceed $15.
5. In order to take proper notes, you should bring paper, pen or pencil, and your textbook
(as a visual aid) to class each day. Or, you may use a laptop or tablet to take notes.
______________________________________________________________________________
Useful Links
Basic Art History Resources
http://arthistoryresources.net/ARTHLinks.html
Chicago Manual of Style
http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/home.html
Manual of Style for Visual Arts Wiki
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style/Visual_arts#Capitalization_and_art_m
ovements
Smart History, Khan Academy: a multimedia web book about art history
http://smarthistory.khanacademy.org/
UC Berkeleys List of Art History Resources
http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/ARTH/arthistresources.html
______________________________________________________________________________

Policies
Academic Honesty: There is a zero tolerance policy for academic dishonesty in this class and
at Cuesta College. Any student found cheating or plagiarizing will receive a zero on the
assignment and will be reported to administration. If you have further questions, please consult
the 2014-2015 Cuesta College Catalog for a full description of academic honesty.
Attendance: Normal progress and successful completion of scholastic work depends upon
regular attendance. Students are expected to attend all classes for which they are registered.
Instructors set an attendance policy for each class, and it is the students responsibility to know
and comply with each one. Instructors may drop a student from a class for infractions of the
attendance policy.
For successful completion of this course, regular attendance and punctuality are required.
Because this is a lecture-driven course, it is imperative that you be present and attentive. You
will not be able to adequately complete tests and assignments if you do not regularly attend
lecture. Attendance will be taken daily. If you enter class late and hence miss attendance, you
must notify the instructor after class or you will remain marked absent. If you are more than 20
minutes late, you will be considered absent for that day. Students may be dropped if absent
more than three times.
It is the students responsibility to officially withdraw from a course that the student is no longer
attending. Failure to officially withdraw from a class may result in an F or failing grade.
Class Rules of Conduct: When in the classroom, it is expected that the instructor and all
students be respectful of others. Please refer to the College Catalog for further information on the
Student Code of Conduct.
Disabled Student Programs and Services: A student who feels he or she may need an
accommodation based on the impact of a disability should visit Disabled Students Program &
Services on the first floor of Building 3300 or contact them at (805) 546-3148. For students who
have already been determined eligible for DSPS services, please provide the instructor with the
proper form from DSPS in a timely manner, at the beginning of the semester and at least one
week prior to the verified and identified need. The college will make reasonable
accommodations for any student who has a disability. It is the students responsibility to inform
the instructor of any needed accommodations. Otherwise, you will be expected to adhere to the
information included on this course syllabus.
Late Work: Any work not turned in in-person, in class, at the start of the class period on the
assigned due date is considered late. If you turn in work late, it will be marked down one full
grade per day.
Moodle: All assignment sheets and other important class documents will be posted on Moodle.
It is the students responsibility to read all class documents thoroughly and be familiar with their
contents. To access Moodle initially, use your Cuesta login and Changeme1 as your password.

Outside Assignments and Study Time: Each week, students should expect to spend at least
two hours outside of class for every hour spent in the classroom for assignments and readings.
Sexual Harassment/Discrimination Policy: Students should be familiar with the college policy
as stated in the College Catalog.
Student Grievances: Students should contact the instructor first with any problems. If the issue
cannot be resolved between the student and the instructor, please see the Student Grievances
section of the College Catalog.
Student Support Services: For student support services, including financial aid, transfer
information, student health, tutoring, etc, see the College Catalog.
Use of Electronic Devices: Laptops and tablets are acceptable for taking notes only. If I see
you online when you should be taking notes, I will ask you to leave the classroom and you will
receive a zero for the day. Recording of lectures is forbidden unless a student has
documentation from DSPS. All lectures are copyrighted and any reproduction of lectures
without instructor approval will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
______________________________________________________________________________
Grading and Course Assessment
Students will be given explicit directions, lessons, and rubrics on how to discuss an artwork
using art terminology, place an artwork within its time period, and how one can gather meaning
from the latter. These directions, lessons, and rubrics will in turn be used to grade your
assignments. You will be responsible for internalizing these directions, lessons, and rubrics and
for demonstrating that you have learned what they mean and how they are used. Assignments
that do not follow the specified directions will be lowered multiple grade levels or may not be
accepted at all. Read all assignment sheets thoroughly.
Students must complete all course requirements in order to pass this course. Please keep all
graded assignments until the end of the course. Late papers will NOT be accepted, except in
case of emergency (documentation required).
Grading Criteria
Attendance and Participation 20%
Written Assignments
20%
Collaborative Exhibition
30%
Final Paper
30%
______________________________________________________________________________
Attendance and Participation (20%)
Class attendance and participation is a vital component to this course. Punctual attendance at all
weekly sections and participation in discussion will earn you full credit for this component of
your grade.

Absences will only be excused in the event of a true emergency. You must communicate with me
as soon as possible and provide valid written documentation, such as a doctors note, in order for
an absence to be excused. In addition, you will be required to complete a short written
assignment to make up for the missed class.
I expect you to arrive prepared, having completed all the assigned reading and any written
assignments before coming to class. You are expected to have thought about the material in
advance of class and to critically respond to discussion questions, lectures, and readings. Of
course, you will be penalized for coming to class unprepared.
You will be expected to participate actively in class discussions and group work. Our
classroom will be an environment in which everyone is free to express their opinions, keeping in
mind the need to respect each other.
Additionally, you will be expected to participate in the preparation and execution of the
exhibition Espacio de Paz. Students will be expected to help host the exhibition opening on
October 2, 2015 from 4-7pm, so please plan your schedule accordingly.
Written Assignments (20%)
Throughout the semester, you will have short written assignments related to writing about art and
art exhibitions. Some assignments will be in-class and others will be assigned for homework.
Completing these assignments on time is essential to this component of your final grade.
Collaborative Exhibition Project (30%)
Your major assignment for this class will be to design a small exhibit for the San Luis Obispo
History Center. The exhibit can focus on any theme, though, due to the host location at the
History Center, it must be related to SLO county history. We will meet regularly at the History
Center to meet the staff, work in their archive, research, and prepare the exhibition, which will be
held in February of 2016.
You will choose the theme and objects (likely photographs or other archival materials) to
display, design the look and layout of the exhibit (wall color, partitions, cases, lighting), and
write up any wall text and labels for each of the objects or photographs.
You will generate a brochure to accompany your exhibit, this text (approximately 5 pages,
double spaced) will include an explanation of the thesis and goals of the exhibit, including: why
you chose the topic you chose, what you hope your audience will get out of the exhibit, how your
layout was meant to foster that learning, how the exhibit relates to the themes and readings in our
course, and what you learned in the process.
This is a collaborative project, so we will work together to discover how to share the work.
Collaborative Exhibition Assignment Components:
1. As a group, come up with a theme for the exhibition and develop an initial thesis.
2. Generate the list of objects or artworks to be included in the exhibition and create a
rough draft of the museum brochure (approximately 5 pages, double spaced).

3. As a group, present the exhibition theme, thesis, and rough draft of the brochure to
the SLO History Center. Receive feedback from the History Center.
4. Process critiques and revise exhibition plans.
5. Complete a final draft of the museum brochure.
6. Finalize exhibition; install in the gallery space.
Final Paper Google Art Project (30%)
For your final, individual project, you will visit Google Art Project STREET VIEW and tour 17
major world museums. Then, in conjunction with the instructor, you will select a topic for the
final paper. There is some freedom to chose a topic that interests you. You may choose to write a
critique of a museums display practices. You might compare two similar museums two
museums dedicated to non-Western art, perhaps, or two modern art museums. These are just
some preliminary ideas. The final paper topic should be solidified by 10/29 at the latest.
Each student is required to have at least one individual meeting with the instructor to discuss the
final paper topic. Papers should be typed, double-spaced, Times New Roman font, 8-10 pages.
______________________________________________________________________________
Explanation of Final Class Grades
Grading Scale (in percentage) for final grade:
100-90 = A; 89-80 = B; 79-70 = C; 69-60 = D; 59 and below = F
A: Difficult to achieve. The student shows a consistent and significant insight and a clear
understanding of the course material. The student completes all assignments on time and follows
to-the-letter all of the directions given by the instructor. The student is rarely, if ever, absent
from lecture, frequently participates in class discussion, and completes all assigned reading. The
student shows an ability to deal resourcefully with abstract ideas, exhibits a superior and clear
understanding of course material, and demonstrates a mastery of pertinent skills. He/She receives
above average passing grades on all class assignments. The student submits a museum paper that
shows an exemplary understanding of the concepts taught in this course.
B: Not as hard to achieve. The student shows an above average competence in the fundamentals
of the course material. The student completes all assignments on time and follows the directions
given by the instructor, with few errors. The student is rarely absent from lecture and completes
all assigned reading. The student shows an ability to deal well with abstract ideas, exhibits a
clear understanding of course material, and demonstrates a commendable mastery of pertinent.
He/She receives above average passing grades on all class assignments. The student submits a
museum paper that shows an above average collegiate level understanding of the concepts taught
in this course.
C: Fairly simple to achieve. The student shows basic understanding of the course materials. The
student completes all assignments on time and follows directions given by the instructor, with
only minor errors. The student is rarely absent from lecture and completes all assigned reading.
The student shows an ability to deal with abstract ideas and exhibits an average mastery of
pertinent skills. He/She receives passing grades on most small percentage assignments and all

large percentage class assignments. The student submits a museum paper that shows an average
collegiate understanding of the concepts taught in this course and follows instructor directions
with few errors.
D: The student does not complete assignments on time and/or does follow directions given by
the instructor. The student is frequently absent from lecture and/or does not complete all
assigned reading. He/She receives few passing grades on most small percentage assignments and
some large percentage class assignments. The student submits a museum paper that shows a
below average collegiate understanding of the concepts taught in this course and/or does not
follow instructor directions.
F: The student does not complete assignments on time and/or does follow directions given by the
instructor. The student misses major assignments (i.e. exam, museum paper, etc). The student is
frequently absent from lecture and does not complete assigned reading. He/She receives few
passing grades on class assignments. The student submits a museum paper does not relate to the
concepts taught in this course and/or does not follow instructor directions.
______________________________________________________________________________
*The instructor reserves the right to change lecture topics, due dates, and reading
requirements; the below schedule is tentative*
______________________________________________________________________________
Class Schedule
8/18

Course Introduction; Syllabus Review; Icebreaker/Introductions

Reading: Introduction
Assignment: Access Moodle
8/20

In-class assignment: Night at the Museum


We will screen the first 30 minutes of this film. Take careful notes: What stereotypes
about museums does this movie reinforce? Be specific.
Discussion: What is a museum?

Reading: Chapter 1, 13-52


8/25

Ch 1, Ideals and Missions


What is a Museum?
Visit: http://www.aam-us.org/about-museums/museum-facts

8/27

Ch 1 (continued)
In-class activity: Museum Mission Statements

Reading: Chapter 2, 53-84


9/1

Ch 2, Museum Architecture: the Enlightenment to Pompidou

9/3

Ch 2 (continued)

9/8

Ch 2 (continued)

Reading: Chapter 2, 84-106


9/10

Ch 2 (continued), Museum Architecture: Pompidou to MoMA

9/15

Ch 2 (continued)

9/17

Screen: The Art of the Steal


Visit: http://www.barnesfoundation.org/
Discussion: Do you think it is more important to preserve the Barnes collection for
use as an educational tool or to make it accessible to the public?

9/22

Exhibition Prep: Espacio de Paz


Generate and Implement To Do List (Hang, Labels, Event Plan)

9/24

Exhibition Prep: Espacio de Paz

9/29

Exhibition Prep: Espacio de Paz

10/1

Exhibition Prep: Espacio de Paz


Opening Event Preparation

10/2

Espacio de Paz Opening Event, Friday, October 2, 4-7pm

10/6

Screen: A History of Art in Three Colors, Episode Three, White, BBC; Begin Ch 3

Reading: Chapter 3, 107-154


10/8

Ch 3, History of Collecting, Classification, and Display

10/13 NO CLASS (Flex Day)


10/15 Using Google Art Project
In-class: Getting to know Google Art Project a virtual museum
Google Art Project Assignment (in class research, writing, and discussion)
In-class: Getting to know Google Art Project STREET VIEW
Virtually tour 17 major world museums
Google Street View: Art Project
https://www.google.com/maps/views/streetview/art-project?gl=us
Homework Assignment: New York Times Style Exhibition Review

Reading: Chapter 4, 155-192


10/20 Museum Organizational Structures
Ch 4, The Museum Going Public
10/22 Ch 4, The Public (continued)
Discuss Final Paper Assignment
Reading: Chapter 5, 193-232
10/27 Ch 5, Commercialism
10/29 Ch 5 (continued)
In-class meetings: Discuss final paper topics with instructor
Discuss Collaborative Exhibition Project
11/3

Collaborative Exhibition Project Meeting #1


Collaborative research and discussion
As a group, come up with a theme for the exhibition and develop an initial thesis.

11/5

Collaborative Exhibition Project Meeting #2


Collaborative research and discussion
Finalize thesis, generate the list of objects and/or artworks to be included in the
exhibition, etc.

11/10 Collaborative Exhibition Project Meeting #3


Finalize exhibit plans. Create a rough draft of wall text.
11/12 Collaborative Exhibition Project Meeting #4
Revise exhibition plans.
11/17 Collaborative Exhibition Project Meeting #5
Finalize exhibition plans. Complete final draft of wall text.
11/19 Collaborative Exhibition Project Meeting #6
11/24 Collaborative Exhibition Project Meeting #7
11/26 NO CLASS (Thanksgiving Holiday)
Reading: Chapter 6, 233-268
12/1

Ch 6, Restitution; The Elgin Marbles and the Benin Bronzes

12/3

Ch 6 (continued)
Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act

National Museum of the American Indian: A New Paradigm?


Visit: http://www.nmai.si.edu/
12/8

Screen: Full Circle: A Totem Returns

12/10 Course Conclusion


This course explores the role played by museums in shaping our knowledge of the past,
forging national identity, and constructing Others. We consider how choices concerning
architectural and exhibition design shape the narrative and judgments that museums
convey about their collections, how they help museums to justify their right to own and
present the patrimony of other cultures, and how they manipulate the experience of the
visitor. We consider some of the debates that have been aired over the years about what
kinds of objects belong in museums (e.g. ones that speak to universal ideals of aesthetic
beauty or ones that offer insight into specific historical moments?) and some of the
challenges that recent trends in contemporary art have posed to the cultural logic of the
museum. We also explore the ways that museums have responded to these various
criticisms and challenges, and consider whether and how the museum can itself
participate in institutional critique.
12/17 Final Papers DUE IN CLASS
Thursday, December 17, 12-2pm