[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Spring 2004 - Mondays 12:30-4:30 PM, Rm 639

History and Culture of Museums, Archives, and other Repositories
H72.1801

2004 | 2006

Instructor: Howard Besser Office hours: Mondays 4:30-6:30, and by appointment

On a macro level, this course examines the different types of institutions that collect moving image material. It explains how cultural institutions differ from one another, and from other institutions that collect and manage moving image collections(including corporate institutions). It also examines why certain types of material are not collected by any institutions. On a micro level, the course examines what the various departments within a collecting institution do. Students will learn about missions and ethics, as well as about accessioning, budgeting, and fundraising. Aspects of project management and handling competing interests within the organization will also be covered. The course also looks at the history of moving image archives and related organizations.  Includes visits to NYC museums, archives, and libraries.

This is a seminar, with emphasis on readings and class discussions.

Student Papers


Jan 26: Theory & Concepts

Assignments due before class:
Topics covered:
Current Events

Feb 2: Histories of Libraries, Museums, & Archives

Assignments due before class
Current Events
Topics covered:

Feb 9: Types of Institutions and departments/functions within them

Assignments due before class
Currrent Events
Topics covered

Feb 23: Ethics & Values--Mona Jimenez

Assignments due before class
Topics covered:

Mar 1:  Job Roles within Cultural Institutions, Professionalism--Antonia Lant

Assignments due before class
Topics covered:

Mar 8: Visit to American Museum of Natural History

Meet promptly at 1PM at the staff entrance of the American Museum of Natural History   (79th St & Central Park West, below ground entrance); Barbara Mathe will be guiding us.
Assignments due before class

Mar 22: Case Study of Museum Film Cataloging, Organization, and Description

Guest Speaker -- Jon Gartenberg
Assignments due before class

Mar 29: Philosophies and Roles of Cultural Institutions & How they differ

Assignments due before class
Topics covered:

Apr 12 Processes: Budgeting, Fundraising, Project Management

Guest Speaker -- Sarah Himmelfarb
Assignments due before class
Topics covered:

Apr 19: ???xxxxxxx

Assignments due before class
Topics covered:

Apr 26 The Future: How do things change in a digital world?

Assignments due before class
Topics covered:

May 3: Final Classroom Presentations

Assignments due before class
Topics covered:

Major Assignments

Visit Cultural Institutions: Visit at least 2 cultural institutions for at least 45 minutes each.  In each institution, observe what people do there: what they look at, what they consult or read, who they talk with, how much time they spend with artifacts, how long they stay in one place, etc.  Note what time of day and day of week you visited, and hypothesize how things might be different at different times.  Compare what happens in each of the places you visit.  Write a 2-5 page paper with your observations, and present this in class.

Lead a short class discussion based on readings: Read one book  (from list).  Sumarize the ideas in an oral class presentation (approximately 10 minutes), and then lead a 15 minute class discussion on the issues you've raised. Individual Final Project -- student choice, but must be related to something covered during the semester: A major term project.  Topic must be approved by the instructors by March 8. Must be presented in class during the last class session. Here are a few examples: