The topic to write about/research is – THE CONTROVERSIES REGARDING THE 9/11 MUSEUM IN NYC. (Commercialism, Sighting, etc…)



For this 10–15 PAGE RESEARCH PROJECT on a topic of your choice, in consultation with me:

1. You may wish to analyze some aspect of a regional museum, in which case you should consult the list of institutions on your syllabus as well as a few comprehensive web sites:

Museums in US by state:

Virginia Association of Museums:

Your argument may dwell on such factors as institutional history, mission statement, breadth of scope, collecting practices, strategies of display, architectural forms, sources of funding, systems of governance, and audiences, both real and imagined. Over time you’ll selectively address one or at most a couple of these phenomena.

2. You may also elect to focus on a special or temporary exhibition staged at a local venue, with comparable attention to the considerations outlined above.

3. Finally, you may choose to examine the oeuvre of a contemporary artist who employs the museum as medium, subject matter, or site, and whose work addresses one or more of the issues noted above. Two good recent catalogs on this very topic are on reserve at Carrier:

Kynaston McShine, Museum as Muse: Artists Reflect (NY: Museum of Modern Art, 1999).

James Putnam, Art and Artifact: Museum as Medium (London: Thames & Hudson, 2001).

Your overarching mission is to clarify the social roles that your museum or exhibition play. What (and whose) values or ideologies does an institution or an installation promote? How does it respond to the needs and desires of a specific, historically-situated audience?

Your Project’s Life Cycle and You

Egg: A one-paragraph PROJECT TOPIC will identify a specific object and an issue or problem you’d like to pursue. Only in unusual circumstances will you be able to change your topic after you have turned in this phase of the assignment. DUE before class THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 15.

Larva: A PROJECT BIBLIOGRAPHY OF SECONDARY SOURCES of no fewer than 10 entries (at least 2 books and at least 2 articles) will give me another opportunity to offer some purely benign suggestions and guidance. Web-based citations are NOT acceptable (if a web-based article exists in print format, then use the citation for the print version). DUE before class TUESDAY, OCTOBER 6.

Pupa: In a scant 1–2 pages, you will outline your goals, summarize your arguments, and apprise me of the state of your research in a PROJECT PROSPECTUS. Think of this as a grant proposal, although none of you will actually be receiving any money from me. Sorry. At this time you will also submit a BIBLIOGRAPHY OF PRIMARY SOURCES of no fewer than 5 entries. DUE before class THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 3.

Adult: Final papers will be 10 to 15 pages, double-spaced, typed, paginated, in twelve-point font, and with one-inch margins. The 10 to 15 pages will be solely reserved for textual analysis; all relevant information (title, name, section time, date, hair color, pet’s name, etc.) will be listed on a TITLE PAGE. Use endnotes (not footnotes) for citation. Where possible, reproduce your image(s) for my consultation. Neither the title page nor any scanned images count towards the 10 to 15 pages. DUE to Canvas by noon on FRIDAY, DECEMBER 9.

This research project is a hefty 35% of your grade. Late papers will be penalized 1/2 letter grade per day or fraction thereof. Late eggs, larvae, and pupae will deduct 1/3 grade.

Research Tips

To help conceive a project topic, you might want to consult me for advice and guidance. It’s also not a bad idea to keyword search “museum” on the webpages of regional papers, Lexis-Nexis, etc., to see what issues currently consume the museum world.

On-line databases have made certain aspects of research less formidable. Besides JMU’s on-line catalog, you can access a number of useful databases through the library homepage, although I’d recommend against searching on JSTOR since it contains only a fraction of available scholarly resources. You will need to use ALL of the following tools, available via the “Research Databases” link:

America: History and Life (interdisciplinary; periodicals only)

WorldCat (books only; this is essential since JMU’s library is relatively small)

EBSCO: Academic Search Premier (more interdisciplinary)

After you’ve finished with these web resources, you’ll find even more potential references in the bibliographies of the books or articles uncovered in your initial search. Expect to become familiar with and take advantage of the Interlibrary Loan (ILL) service, which is accessible via the JMU libraries home page.

NOTE: the use of Wikipedia, Google Scholar, or other general online resources is an unusually bad idea for serious research because they generally produce information of little or dubious value. The internet provides a smorgasbord of superficial factoids; library resources still contain more sustained, in-depth, relevant, and thoughtful analysis.