Experiential Learning (Theme: Curating History: Museums, Memory & Visual Culture) (HIST*3560) | College of Arts

Experiential Learning (Theme: Curating History: Museums, Memory & Visual Culture) (HIST*3560)

Code and section: HIST*3560*01

Term: Winter 2022

Instructor: Shauna McCabe


Instructor: Shauna McCabe

Email: shaunam@uoguelph.ca


Are you an aspiring curator? Do you want to know how to engage art and objects in ways that reveal their wider historical impact? This course will help you develop the skills you need to become a curator adept at making connections between different forms of art and visual culture, historical developments, and broader social and political forces, while deepening your understanding of the ways museums actively define and communicate cultural memory. 

A key area of exploration will focus on how history has been selectively remembered and represented in the public sphere and how issues that have catalyzed Black Lives Matter and movements in support of Indigenous sovereignty have had a substantial impact on museums, highlighting that they are in no way neutral in their communication of messages about history, memory, culture, and identity. Whether exhibitions or collections, the core work of heritage and art institutions reflects a long record of marginalizing and limiting the visibility of those who are Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) – exclusions that reflect and shape values that give museums, art, and other objects their public meaning and significance. 

We will look at art objects themselves to explore the ways visual culture influences thoughts about place, history, ethnicity, and identity. We will also examine the roles and responsibilities of arts and heritage institutions in relation to these movements and examine how museums address and respond to the need for social change. Engaging the Art Gallery of Guelph and its art collections as well as the work of a diversity of contemporary artists, this project will provide students with a vital opportunity to explore the practice of history through curation. Students will develop the skills involved in critically evaluating various elements of visual culture by participating actively in exhibiting and interpreting art practices.

**Please note:  This is a preliminary web course description only.  The department reserves the right to change without notice any information in this description.  The final, binding course outline will be distributed in the first class of the semester.**