Course Title and Description: Museum Pedagogy in the Classroom Workshop, Teaching and Learning Center, CUNY
Lesson Overview: This lesson plan was developed for a workshop at the Teaching and Learning Center at the CUNY Graduate Center in February, 2018. It combines the pedagogies of physicality, narrativity, and materiality to create a classroom-based curatorial process. Read more →
Objects are central to museum interpretation, but seldom considered in the college classroom. Methods such as close looking, handling objects, and rummaging can help professors to be what Elizabeth Latham calls “object advocates” who “not only reveal many more layers of information, but will also provide opportunities…to project their own experiences onto objects,” and thereby connect with students at the material, personal, and socio-cultural levels.
Close Looking is a method that often applies visual thinking strategies to ask students to carefully observe one particular image or artifact for a given period.
Handling objects are passed around in class and offer many of the benefits of multi-sensory learning, including opportunities to identify and share cultural beliefs, ideas, and emotional responses.
Rummaging invites participants to “browse omnivorously” through a variety of objects or images.
Chatterjee, Dr Helen J., and Dr Leonie Hannan, Engaging the Senses: Object-Based Learning in Higher Education. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2015.
Wood, Elizabeth, and Kiersten F. Latham, The Objects of Experience: Transforming Visitor-Object Encounters in Museums. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press, 2013.
Woodall, Alexandria, “Rummaging as a Strategy for Creative Thinking and Imaginitive Engagement in Higher Education” in Helen J. Chatterjee and Leonie Hannan, Engaging the Senses: Object-Based Learning in Higher Education (New York: Routledge, 2016)
Course Title and Description: English 110 (Composition I), The Visual World of Childhood (theme)
Lesson Overview: In this lesson, students will analyze objects they find on a museum’s website (or some other large repository of images of art) using a lens theory, and then present their findings to the class.
Course Title and Description: English 130, Writing about Literature: The Gothic (theme)
This is a course for second semester freshmen that is meant for hopeful literature majors, but which all Queens students have to take in some form. This means that in practice, the class has a diverse range of majors.
Lesson Overview: In this lesson, students will perform a close reading of an individual object (with significance to the story) in groups. They will then have a debate in which one group presents an argument, another group defends their argument with further evidence, and the third group critiques, or finds examples that go against their argument. We use Angela Carter’s feminist fairy tale, “The Bloody Chamber,” which retells an adaptation of Charles Perrault’s “Bluebeard,” the story of a woman’s escape from her serial wife-killing husband. However, you could use any story you want in which objects play a major role as symbols. This story works particularly well because of the rich range of resonances objects often have in the Gothic genre, and also because of the story’s emphasis on class. However, there are many other genres in which objects take on a range of resonances (i.e. horror, realism, Southern Gothic, fantasy) and for an uthemed basic course, this activity could be altered to accommodate whatever text uses objects prominently as symbols.
Course Title and Description: John Jay College history 208 (World History Lecture Course)
Lesson Overview: In this lesson, students compose and revise short “object biographies” to submit to the growing digital archive “Your Story, Our Story,” which is a project of the Lower East Side Tenement Museum.