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Title:A case study of providing object itineraries as provenance for cultural artifacts in a museum
Author(s):Wang, Luo
Advisor(s):Hetrick, Laura
Department / Program:Art & Design
Discipline:Art Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Object itineraries
Cultural artifacts
Multicultural art education
Abstract:The purpose of my study is to investigate how one museum in the Midwestern United States, the Oriental Institute, contextualizes its permanent collection of cultural artifacts in the Joseph and Mary Grimshaw Egyptian Gallery. Based on the information I collected, I suggest strategies for art educators to provide object itineraries as part of the provenance for artifacts in art museums and schools. To guide my research, I explore the following questions: What are the complex cultural histories behind the artifacts presented? How do curators and educators in the Oriental Institute describe the purpose and difficulties of providing object itineraries information in their exhibition? What are some strategies for educators to navigate the pedagogical and informational gap caused by the lack of chronological ownership stories? Such questions are increasingly important in a world where cultural appropriation is still a norm; meanwhile, misconceptions of how museums acquire their collections, especially non-western artifacts, are common. I conducted my research using a qualitative, case study approach. I chose the Joseph and Mary Grimshaw Egyptian Gallery from the Oriental Institute’s permanent collection and observed how the museum contextualized the artifacts by not only providing basic provenance about the ownership, but also engaging aspects of cultural history and object itineraries. I conducted interviews to further investigate why the museum provides such information on their cultural artifacts as well as what are the challenges to present such information in public. Through this research, I conclude the necessity of including object itineraries as part of the provenance information, and provide possible strategies for art educators to navigate the issues with provenance information in art museums. The strategies include going through archives and consulting with professionals to find in-depth information, working on the layout of museum labels and take-away booklets to provide more inviting written information, as well as utilizing gallery tours, audio devices, and other related museum programs to offer learners chances to interact with the professionals and objects in multiple contexts.
Issue Date:2017-04-28
Rights Information:Copyright 2017 Luo Wang
Date Available in IDEALS:2017-08-10
Date Deposited:2017-05

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