Fall 2023 MUSE Course Descriptions
MUSE 400/546: Museums in Theory  
Dr. Lucy Mensah
Wednesdays - 3:00pm-5:30pm
CRN 45575 (3 undergraduate hours) OR​ 47139 (4 graduate hours)
This seminar will introduce students to a range of theoretical and critical frameworks that position “the museum” as an overlooked locus of power warranting serious, investigative inquiry. Instead of taking museums as de facto powerhouses of cultural and intellectual authority, students will interrogate key presuppositions about these institutions by asking—and answering-- key questions: What exactly are museums? Why and how do they exist? And, importantly, who do they exist for? In light of these exploratory questions, students will survey influential readings and media attributed to various schools of thought, including (in no ranked order) cultural studies, feminist theory, queer theory, critical race theory, whiteness studies, labor history, postcolonial/decolonial theory, animal studies, ecocriticism, and architectural design history. 
MUSE 400/546: Museums, Race, and The Politics of Representation
Dr. María Eugenia López-Garcia
Tuesdays - 3:30pm-6:00pm
CRN 43540 (3 undergraduate hours) OR​ 45572 (4 graduate hours)
While museums have claimed an investment in “diversity and inclusion,” their efforts remain within the realm of representational politics-- the practice of showing diversity without structural change-, evading a critical engagement with the topics of race and the history of racism in museums. This seminar will engage with ongoing and crucial dialogues about the limits of representational practices and the ways in which race has come to be imagined and understood in visual culture and in institutional life. We will be using the historical and theoretical framework of racial capitalism to help us understand the intersections of race, aesthetics and political economy.
MUSE 400/546: Critical Collections Care  
LaMar Gayles
Mondays - 6:00pm-8:30pm
CRN 45574 (3 undergraduate hours) OR​ 47138 (4 graduate hours) 
This course will introduce students to a range of ethics and practices used in preventive art conservation and collections care. This field is crucial to those hoping to work as registrars or as collection-based professionals. This course will teach students about: chemical/physical behaviors of cultural heritage materials, environmental hazards for collections, and mitigations for volatile contaminants on cultural heritage objects. There will be particular attention given to thinking about assessing the condition of objects and how they are stored. We will discuss how taking into consideration cultural positionalities can inform improved practices of care. Students will each complete an independent project exploring preventive conservation or preventive collections care work with an object or collection of their choice.  Content varies. Course Information: 3 to 4 undergraduate hours. 4 to 5 graduate hours. May be repeated for credit. Extensive computer use required.  
MUSE 532: Museum Collections  
Emma Turner-Trujillo
Thursdays 3:30pm-6:00pm - CRN 43541
Practical, theoretical and institutional settings of the museum and exhibition professions. Students meet in seminar environments, read and discuss core texts and ideas; travel to representative exhibition and cultural heritage sites.    
MUSE 543: Writing for Exhibitions  
Dr. Lucy Mensah
Tuesdays - 11:00am-1:30pm - CRN 43534
Practicum in producing texts for sites across physical and virtual museum and exhibition environments, from labels to exhibition catalogs. Includes digital and virtual exhibition venues.  
MUSE 545: Museum Genres, Practices, Institutions  
Dr. María Eugenia López-Garcia
Mondays - 3:00pm-5:30pm - CRN 43539
History of museums, cultural heritage sites, other sites of preservation and exhibition; includes discussion of contemporary sites of virtual display.