Assignments and Grading

1.  Reading Log and Museum Analyses:  300 points.

Reading Logs

Reading deeply and discussing your ideas with others is a central component of this class. Over the course of the quarter, you will keep a detailed reading log in which you will take notes on each class period’s readings. Your entries should contain the following:

  • An outline of each assigned article. Break each section of the assigned reading into its subheadings. Write 2-3 bullet points per subheading to remember the gist of the overall argument.
  • A brief reflection on the piece. What is your general impression of the author’s presentation of the material? How might you expand, challenge, or substantiate the author’s arguments?
  • Jot down any questions that came up while you were reading.

Blogs can be set up on a platform of your choosing (WordPress, Wix, and Tumblr are all good choices that are free). If you decide to password-protect your site, please provide the necessary information to access the site. On Wednesday of Week 1, you will submit your blog names to me in class.

Entries must be posted by 9:00am on the day they are assigned to receive full credit. Each entry is worth 20 points. You are allowed one missed entry before it impacts your grade (there are 16 total possible entries, you are graded on 15 of them). Late entries (anything posted after 9:00am on the day they are assigned) are worth 10 points.

Museum Analyses

You will be visiting the Kalamazoo Valley Museum, Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, Detroit Institute of Arts, University of Michigan Museum of Art, and the Art Institute of Chicago this quarter.  You will write a 1500 – 2000 word reflection and analysis of your visit, to be posted on to your reading log.  Visits between weeks 1-5 (KVM, KIA, DIA, UMMA) are due by the Monday of Week 6, posted on your reading log by midnight.  The AIC reflection is due by the Monday of finals week.  If you are unable to join us for the scheduled field trips, please see me to arrange for your makeup assignment.  Each entry is worth 20 points.

Questions to Consider (not an exhaustive list, some suggestions to get you started):

What prior knowledge of this museum did you have before this visit? How did this prior knowledge/information/marketing affect your experience of the museum? Museums are now virtual as well as physical spaces. How do the virtual and physical spaces interact here?

 Who might be the ideal visitor for this museum? Why? Discuss specific things that shaped your perception of who this museum’s ideal audience might be.

 Did you experience any contradictions between your expectations and the actual visit? What might account for these contradictions? Does the museum present a clear and unified message about their mission and purpose?

 How does the the architectural design of the building relate to the contents?

 How does this museum conceptualize their collection?

 How does the organization and display of the space, the educational materials, the objects and their accompanying educational/promotional materials, etc. all add up to a singular mission? What might that mission be?

How participatory is this museum?  For what audiences?  Is it effective?  Any drawbacks?


2.  Participatory Museum Assignments:  300 points.

Podcasts, YouTube videos, audio guides, iPad apps, QR codes, social media:  Technology is changing how we experience the museum.  We will be working with Michelle Stempien, Curator of Education at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, in developing a museum education project that puts theory into practice.  More details to follow.

3.  Nonprofit Organization Analysis:  400 points.

Working in teams, you will select a nonprofit arts-related organization in Kalamazoo to research for your final project, which will consist of a written report and group presentation during Week 10.  Teams will be assigned and the prompt distributed in class on Monday of Week 4.