Lesson Name: Statue of Liberty Class-as-Curator Workshop
Primary Museum Pedagogy: Putting it All Together, Physicality, Narrativity, Materiality
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.
Lesson Name: Lenses – Multiple Perspectives on Historical Events
Primary Museum Pedagogy: Narrativity
Course Title and Description: A lower level history course that covers one event or theme, ie. the Civil War or Industrialization.
Lesson Overview: Students will write a story based on a painting or image and rooted in historical fact that details how one individual or group viewed an event in contrast to another. To do so, students will synthesis readings and primary source material from a single unit, identifying the multiple perspectives surrounding a historical event or theme. This activity serves to nuance their understanding the historical moment and bring un/derrepresented voices into the narrative.
Lesson Name: Letter to Bialystok Assignment
Primary Museum Pedagogy: Narrativity
Course Title and Description: History 208, Exploring Global History, Theme: New York Immigration and the Modern World
- “This course will introduce students to global history by exploring a particular theme or issue in its historical context. Sections will address a given topic in detail and consider its global legacy.”
Lesson Overview: This lesson asks students to put themselves in the shoes of a teenager who recently immigrated from the city of Bialystok, Poland to either Argentina or Palestine, and is writing a letter home to a friend back in Bialystok about their new life. The homework leading up to this in-class assignment is to answer a series of directed questions based on chapter 2 of Rebecca Kobrin’s Jewish Bialystok and Its Diaspora. The answers to those questions give the information that students are now asked to apply to imagining a first-person narrative.
Lesson Name: Material Culture through the Lens of Forms
Primary Museum Pedagogy: Materiality and Narrativity
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.
Lesson Name: Debating Interpretations: How Objects Are Used in Angela Carter’s “The Bloody Chamber”
Primary Museum Pedagogy: Materiality
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.
Lesson Name: A (class) Museum without Walls
Primary Museum Pedagogy: Narrativity and Class-as-Curator/Putting it All Together
Course Title and Description: Advanced Foreign Language / ESL course
Lesson Overview: This assignment invites students to draft a collective narrative based on artworks on display in museums located nearby their college (here, NYC). The different stages of the curating process along with the final outcome is archived on a class blog. Ultimately, the students go visit some of the artworks featuring the class thematic exhibition, and compare the display they created with the “physical”, existing one.