Courses in/with the Museum

Here are some of the courses currently taught by museum staff that actively incorporate the museum space, collections, and practice into the course material: 

ANTH 345/545 - Introduction to Museology / Advanced Museology (Every Fall)
Dr. Kristin Otto, Curator

This course provides a broad introduction to the museum world. Through discussion of readings, examination of case-studies, and the completion of practical assignments, students will gain an understanding of the museum as an institution, as well as learn the challenges and responsibilities that museums and their staff encounter. Topics include the history of museums, contemporary debates surrounding the definition of museums, ethical and legal issues, and community connections. Students will explore museum processes such as collecting, cataloguing, conservation, exhibition, research, and education through practical exercises using the collections of the University Museum in Kent Hall, as well as through case studies of museums around the world. This is a core course for those pursuing the Graduate Certificate in Museum Studies.


Curation Crisis in Archaeology (Topics Course)
Dr. Fumi Arakawa, Director and Associate Professor

This collection management course will introduce students to collections curation, collections care, and collections-based research with archaeological collections. Archaeological collections stewardship begins before an archaeologist steps foot into the field and continues well after the recovered collections reach the repository. This course provides students with an understanding of the curation “crisis” using archaeological collections curated at the University Museum as a case study and the responsibilities that archaeologists have to the collections they generate. Students will learn about the real costs of long-term curation and gain practical skills in project development, sampling strategies, disseminating archaeological collections to the public (e.g., exhibitions, workshops, etc.), and learning collections for the repository to ensure their long-term care, access, and use. This course is especially designed for those who work in the CRM industry, government agencies, academia, and museums. This class will examine various approaches to the topic of curations and will focus mostly on pottery, lithics, faunal/floral remains, historic items, and groundstone tools etc. These materials are ubiquitous in prehistoric and historic archaeological contexts. This class will give you a curational knowledge of these materials as well as sufficient background to develop and evaluate curation issues for archaeological remains.


Museum Anthropology (Spring 2021)
Dr. Kristin Otto, Curator

This course provides an introduction to the methodological and theoretical approaches of museum anthropology. In the United States, the anthropological discipline grew out of the work of scholars based in museums. Since then, museums and their collections have moved in and out of the center of anthropological practice in response to theoretical/methodological shifts, the politics of representation, and the institutionalization of anthropology in universities. Today, museum anthropology involves both the study of museums as knowledge-producing institutions and the use of data from museums (collections, records, etc.) as the basis for anthropological research. In addition to focusing on collections and museum practice, museum anthropology addresses issues of collaboration, indigenous agency, applied anthropology, and public engagement. Students will gain experience with all these aspects of museum anthropology in the course by engaging with critical scholarship, analyzing case studies, and practicing collections-based research methods utilizing the collections of the University Museum. Through assignments students will analyze objects in the museum’s collections using techniques of close looking, drawing, photography, sequences of making, and external research using scholarly sources. Students will gain skills in primary and secondary research, the analysis of material culture, and the practicalities of navigating research in museums.


Interested in an internship? You can learn more about internship opportunities in the museum here