Special Topics in Museum Studies: Artifact, Audience, Text: Writing in the Museum


This course will critically examine the role of text in museum professional practice. Whether brick-and-mortar or virtual, large or small, art or historical or natural history, all museums cultural institutions use text to carry out their missions. Whether internal or public-facing, text is a prominent feature of the museum work environment for staff through collections management, artifact cataloguing, research and exhibit development, exhibition catalogues, marketing, wayfinding, membership and development. Through their consumption of exhibit text, exhibit catalogues, interpretive material and websites, the written word is also a fundamental constituent of the visitor experience. Only occasionally are museum-specific modes of writing situated in a larger critical context of contemporary issues surrounding the politics, production and consumption of text. This course aims to both introduce students to this larger critical context and also equip them to produce credible and appropriate text in the modes they are most likely to encounter in their work as museum professionals.