Course Offerings

If you would like to see our current offerings, please see the department’s listing on the Student Information Services (SIS) website. Please consult the online course catalog for complete course information.

In addition to core and repeat offerings, the Program in Museums and Society rotates courses frequently, actively developing new classes often in unique partnerships with regional museums and other departments. See the lists below to gain an understanding of the curriculum.

Course Catalog

389.103 (H, W) Museum Matters Freshman Seminar
Limited to Freshmen. Museums are crucibles, places where public memory, identity, and cultural values are debated and shaped. We examine this premise through site visits to Baltimore museums of art, science, history (and many more), critical group discussion, and intensive writing assignments.
Staff 3 credits

389.105 (H) Freshman Seminar: Art in the Museum
Go behind the scenes of local art museums to explore fundamental concepts and social issues particular to the collection and display of art in the past and today.
Cross-listed with History of Art.
Kingsley 3 credits

389.107 Freshman Seminar: Technical Research on Archaeological Objects in the Johns Hopkins Archaeological Museum
Freshmen will learn and apply analytical methods used in the technical study of archaeological objects by examining and researching ancient examples in the Johns Hopkins Archaeological Museum. Freshman Only.
Balachandran 3 credits

389.110 Freshman Seminar: All about Things
This course will introduce students to the ways that different disciplines approach the world of objects as sources of cultural information. We will alternate seminar-style meetings focused on important texts with field trips to Evergreen Museum and select local collections. Our goal is to gain critical understanding of the objects that surround us every day—everything from cell phones to the built environment—and to hone skills of visual analysis and scholarly presentation. Each student will conduct research on an object in Evergreen’s collection with guidance from the museum’s director and curator, James Abbott, as well as from relevant collectors, conservators, and scholars. Students will contribute to the Evergreen collections database and to an on-line presentation of Hopkins collections, and will produce a research poster for presentation. Approximately 3 meetings will be held at Evergreen (accessible on the College Town Shuttle), and we will go on several other local field trips.
Rodini 3 credits

389.171 (H, S) B’More: Explore Baltimore Museums
This course is for freshmen ONLY. Field-trip based class goes behind the scenes of local museums (history, art, science, aquarium). We meet with curators, exhibit designers, educators and conservators and learn about the museums’ histories, philosophies and activities to become more informed visitors.
Kingsley 1 credit

389.201 (H, S) Introduction to the Museum: Past and Present
This course surveys museums, from their origins to their most contemporary forms, in the context of broader historical, intellectual, and cultural trends. Anthropology, art, history, and science museums are considered. Offered every fall. Cross-listed with History and History of Art.
Kingsley 3 credits

389.202 (H, S) Introduction to the Museum: Issues and Ideas
This course considers the practical, political, and ethical challenges facing museums today, including the impact of technology and globalization, economic pressures, and debates over the ownership and interpretation of culture. Offered every spring.
Rodini 3 credits

389.205 (H) Examining Archaeological Objects
This course considers the role of materials in the production, study and interpretation of objects by examining artifacts from the Johns Hopkins Archaeological Museum. Students will consider materials such as ceramics, stone, metal, glass, wood and textiles, and visit artists’ studios to gain an understanding of historical manufacturing processes. Cross-listed with Archaeology, Anthropology, Near Eastern Studies, Classics, and History of Art. M&S practicum course.
Balachandran 3 credits

389.210 Program Abroad: Paris: Museums, Monuments and Cultural HistoryIntersession Abroad Program.
The course examines the museums of Paris, in situ, with a special emphasis on the creation of cultural memory.
Rodini 3 credits

389.220 (30) Program Abroad: London: Art, History, and Culture in Context
This course will involve behind-the-scenes tours with the instructor and curators of the major art, science, and cultural museums, palaces, and historic rare book and manuscript libraries, as well as private collections, in greater London and Cambridge.
Havens 3 credits

389.250 (H) Conservation of Material Culture: Art, Artifacts, and Heritage Sites
Alongside specialists in area museums, we explore the conservation of material culture in various media. Topics include manufacturing methods and material degradation as well as conservation treatments, science, and ethics. Cross-listed with History of Art.
Trusheim 3 credits

389.261 (H) Curating Homewood
Students explore early American life related to the region and the Carroll family of Homewood. Primary research and object study culminate in student-curated thematic exhibition. Optional intersession practicum experience is also possible. For more on exhibit theme, contact instructor. Offered every Fall. Cross-listed with History. M&S practicum course. Instructor permission required: send a brief statement of interest, including related coursework or experience, to Homewood Director C. Arthur,
Arthur 3 credits

389.275 (H, S) Interpreting Collections: An Introduction to Museum Education
Part public history, part introduction to museum practice, this hands-on course explores how heritage areas and museums serve communities through interpretation. Each year, students partner with a community to develop research-based, visitor-centered interpretive material, in 2015 the Baltimore National Heritage Area. Field trips and community meetings will be a significant part of the course. M&S practicum.
Maloney (Museum Educator) 3 credits

389.301 (H, S) Approaches to Material Culture in the Age of the Web
Students work from university collections doing original research and presenting their findings for the general public on an interactive website. Course includes digital media lab assignments. Cross-listed with History and History of Science. M&S practicum.
Kingsley 3 credits

389.302 (H, S) The Virtual Museum
This course draws on both classic readings in material culture and emerging theories of the digital to consider how the internet has changed objects and the institutions that collect, preserve, display, and interpret them. Students will contribute to an established virtual museum and create their own. Cross-listed with Anthropology and History.
Kingsley 3 credits

389.303 (H, S) World of Things
This course introduces students to current approaches to objects, their materials, and materiality. Each class starts from a specific inspiration (body parts, fakes, the materiality of ISIS…..) and treats the museum as a site for investigating the relationship between people and things.
Kingsley 3 credits

389.321 GhostFood: Curatorial Practicum with the Contemporary
Students will work with Baltimore’s Contemporary and New York-based artist Miriam Simun on GhostFood, a project that uses art to engage important questions concerning the environment, climate change, and the politics of food. In close collaboration with the artist, museum, and one another, they will oversee a new iteration of GhostFood specifically for the audiences of Johns Hopkins and its neighboring communities. They will be responsible for the entire conception of this project and for producing all related programming and print such as lectures, panel discussions, and brochures. Students will gain a valuable understanding of the environmental effects of climate change on food consumption as well as the contemporary artist’s role in this sociopolitical forum. They will meet regularly with Simun, who will highlight the ways in which artists are able to advance their field while contributing to important global discussions. Instructor is Deana Haggag, executive director of The Contemporary.
Enrollment requirement: Interested students should send a brief but informative statement of their interests and relevant background to M&S Director Elizabeth Rodini by March 31. Notification of enrollment status will be provided by April 1. Students from all fields, but especially those interested in food systems, the environment, and contemporary art/exhibitions are encouraged to enroll.
Haggag 3 credits

389.335 Recreating Ancient Greek Ceramics
This hands-on course in experimental archaeology brings together undergraduate and graduate students across disciplines to study the making of Athenian vases. Students work closely with expert ceramics artists, and in consultation with art historians, archaeologists, art conservators, and materials scientists to recreate Greek manufacturing processes.
Balachandran 4 credits

389.336 (H, S) Heritage at Work
This is a public archaeology course focused on research, interpretation, and outreach (via a local school) related to Catoctin Furnace, an 18th-century industrial site with a strong African-American history. Students will prepare exhibition cases and signage for the site, and their work may be the basis of a future exhibition at a local museum eventually be part of a larger initiative at the Smithsonian’s new NMAAHC.​​  Freshmen are welcome!

More about Catoctin Furnace: This is a pre-Revolutionary industrial village in which the workers included both white immigrants (Germans and Swiss) and enslaved Africans. The masters and the white laborers were new to the iron trade, but the Africans very likely had expertise in iron technology as it was a very significant industry in the areas from which they were captured. There is some tantalizing evidence that the Africans used their skills to resist the power dynamics of the master-slave relationship, but you have to take the class to learn more! Elizabeth Comer, the archaeologist teaching the course, is actively excavating and analyzing artifacts, and also serves the Catoctin historical society. The historical society’s mission is to celebrate, study and preserve the history of the village, including the lifeways and foodways of its workers. M&S practicum course.
Comer 3 credits

389.340 (H) Critical Issues in Art Conservation
The course examines recent controversies in the conservation of major global art works and sites, raising questions concerning the basic theoretical assumptions, practical methods, and ethical implications of art conservation. Cross-listed with History of Art.
Balachandran 3 credits

389.342 (H) Objects in Focus: Materials, Techniques, History
What can art and archaeological objects reveal about materials, their craftsmanship and preservation? We investigate artists’ treatises, visit studios and museum conservation laboratories and closely examine artworks. Cross-listed with Classics, History of Art, Near Eastern Studies. M&S practicum course.
Balachandran 3 credits

389.343 (H, S) Edgar Allan Poe and His Afterlives
We will investigate the creative development and iconic afterlife of a canonical American author, Edgar Allan Poe, as a case-study in literary legacy and cultural heritage. What is the lifespan of a literary work, and how do works “stay alive” for later generations? Students will examine rare Poe materials and create a digital exhibition of Poe archives.
Dean 3 credits

389.349 (H) Art, Museums and the Law
This course will introduce and examine the legal systems that structure and guide museums’ management of collections and relationships with artists, employees, the public, the state, and the international community.
Levandusky 3 credits

389.352 (H, S) Bibliomania: Ambition, Desire, & the Making of the George Peabody Library in 19th-century Baltimore
In 1857, Baltimore’s historic George Peabody Library was born, one of America’s first public libraries. This course studies its history, rare book collections, and foundational role in Baltimore’s cultural history. Writing Intensive.
Havens 3 credits

389.353 Revolutions of the Book: Material Culture & the Transformation of Knowledge from Antiquity to the Renaissance
Explores the material culture of knowledge through transformations in the technologies and arts of communication, taught entirely from rare books, manuscripts, and artifacts in JHU libraries and museum collections.
Havens 3 credits

389.354 (H) Paper Museums: Exhibiting Artists’ Books at the Baltimore Museum of Art
Students work with the BMA collection and staff to develop and organize an exhibition of artists’ books. Various aspects of museum work are explored, including research, interpretation, presentation, programming, and marketing. M&S practicum course. Cross-listed with History of Art.
Hoisington 3 credits

389.355 (H, W) Literary Culture in the Nineteenth-Century Library
What did people actually read in the nineteenth century? What can we learn from their books and magazines? In this class, we read nineteenth-century English and American literary works and examine nineteenth-century literary objects from the collection of the George Peabody Library, to better understand the cultural and material environments within which literary works circulated. Featured writers likely to include Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Dickens, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Emily Dickenson, Mark Twain, and Stephen Crane. There will be several field trips to the Peabody Library throughout the semester.
Dean 3 credits

389.356 (H) Halls of Wonder: Art, Science, and Literature in the Age of the Marvelous, 1500-1800
Explore the material culture of “wonder” from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment in literature, science, and art, with Hopkins’ rare book collections and the Walters Art Museum. Cross-listed with History, History of Art, and MLL. M&S practicum course.
Havens 3 credits

389.357 (H) Heaven on Earth: Art, Culture, and Wonder in the Vatican Museum and Library
This interdisciplinary course will explore the institutional, cultural, artistic and architectural history of St. Peter’s and the Vatican Museum and Library from Antiquity through the Renaissance, up to the present day. Class meets in the Dick Macksey Seminar Room of the Brody Learning Commons.
Havens 3 credits

389.358 (H) Collecting and Cataloguing the Contemporary
How do private collections fit into the nexus between museums, the market, and the public? Working within an important Baltimore collection of modern and contemporary art, each student will research and write object entries and other catalog text. We will alternate seminar-style meetings – centered on discussion of critical texts on the practice and history of collecting – with meetings at the private collection under study, and will go on other area field trips. Cross-listed with History of Art. M&S practicum course.
Anderson 3 credits

389.359 (H) Literary Archive
This course invites students to grapple with the theory and practice of building literary archives in 19th- and 20th-century American culture. For the final project students will work collaboratively to build a digital archive and exhibit of selected materials from the JHU rare book and manuscript collections. Meets in Special Collections. Cross-listed with English. M&S practicum course.
Dean 3 credits

389.360 (H) American Literature on Display
Focusing on late 19th- and early 20th-century American literature, we will examine representations of “display” within different genres and track how “display” simultaneously shapes print culture and social concerns of this period. Questions about display will also inform our final project, a digital exhibit that students will create using archival and rare book materials to contextualize the work of the journalist, poet and fiction writer Stephen Crane. Cross-listed with English. M&S practicum course.
Dean 3 credits

389.362 (H) Behind the Scenes at the Walters Art Museum
Work with Walters staff to learn about the workings of a professional art museum while developing an exhibition or other museum project. Cross-listed with History of Art. M&S practicum course.
Staff, 3 credits

389.363 (H) Curating Culture at the Evergreen Museum
In this hands-on course, students research the Evergreen collection in order to develop an innovative, public exhibition or presentation. The history of the house, its grounds, its books and artifacts are all subject to investigation. M&S practicum course.
Staff 3 credits

389.372 (H) Zoos as Community Institutions
This course examines zoos and living collections from historical and contemporary perspectives, taking into account the potentially conflicting role of zoos as conservation organizations, educational institutions, and entertainment venues. M&S practicum course.
Finkelstein 3 credits

389.374 (H, S) Museum Lab: Creating Participatory Spaces at the Baltimore Museum of Industry
The Baltimore Museum of Industry is a dynamic institution focused on the history of labor in Baltimore. As the 2016 presidential election indicates, social relationships around labor in this country are stressed and new ways of working through these tensions are needed. The BMI proposes developing a talk-back space, “Break Room,” as a site where various members of the Baltimore community can come together in meaningful dialogue around labor-related issues.

In the “Museum Lab” course, taught by seasoned museum educator and BMI staff member, Beth Maloney, students will conduct research on participatory learning through an in-depth examination of the BMI’s audiences, their needs, and the museum’s intention in developing the “Break Room.” They will investigate the connections between historical circumstances, local institutions, and current social needs, and work closely with BMI staff, community stakeholders, and MICA design students. This is a unique curricular opportunity to get involved in Baltimore and have an impact in our city through one of its most distinctive cultural institutions. M&S practicum. CBL course.
Maloney 3 credits

389.375 (H) Museums and Social Responsibility
Do museums have a social responsibility? What roles should they play in their communities? Should they be agents of social change or social justice? This course explores the ways in which museums engage with local communities. Students work in partnership with a specific museum to develop an original and fundable proposal that attends to its social responsibility. Field trips and guest speakers will be a key feature of this course. M&S practicum course. CBL course. Cross-listed with Sociology. responsibility. Field trips and guest speakers will be a key feature of this course. M&S practicum course. CBL course. Cross-listed with Sociology.
Maloney 3 credits

389.377 Black Artists in American Art Museums: Correcting the Canon
Students are invited to examine critically the history of Black artists exhibiting within American museums. With the help of BMA staff, class will develop interpretation for an installation to accompany a major retrospective of artist Jack Whitten that considers the “canon” of art history as a site of ongoing negotiation between taste-makers, artists, dealers, and critics, as well as art institutions that include the market and the museum. Students will take advantage of archives at the BMA, the Library of Congress and Howard University. Students will help select the artworks and themes for the show; research individual participants in the social networks that facilitated the success of some artists over others; and research the biographies of individual artworks – some that have entered the canon and some that should. M&S Practicum. CBL Course. Cross-listed with Africana Studies.
Kingsley 3 credits

389.378 (H, S) Collections Remix: Black at Hopkins
We turn a critical eye on our university’s material culture and memory under the guidance of local experts on collecting and interpreting materials that represent the African-American experience. Students will develop a strategic plan to guide future collecting on campus and will stage creative interventions with or around objects to reveal hidden stories and rethink existing interpretation. M&S Practicum. CBL course.
Kingsley 3 credits

389.385 (H, S) Global Perspectives on the Museum
Course examines practices of collecting, display, and preservation beyond the Western museum tradition, focusing on how these practices reflect and construct political, historical, ethnic, and nationalist narratives. Cross-listed with Anthropology; counts toward international studies major.
Rodini and Balachandran 3 credits

389.386 (H) Islamic Art in the 21st Century Museum
What narratives about Islam and Islamic art does the visitor encounter at the museum? Recent re-installations of Islamic art will be studied in the context of current issues, including Islamophobia, attacks on cultural heritage, and hesitation in addressing matters of faith in public institutions. Cross-listed with History of Art and Islamic Studies.
Landau 3 credits

389.390 (H) Library/Laboratory
What is a library? Is it a collection of books, a suite of digital resources, a space for studying? In this interdisciplinary and project-driven class we will examine the past, present, and future of the library as a site of experimentation and an expression of different knowledge regimes. Our investigation will be guided by literary treatments of the library, historical and critical readings, guest lectures, rare materials from special collections, and field work.
Dean 3 credits

389.440 (H, S) Who Owns Culture?
This seminar explores the complicated, often explosive concept of cultural property, including questions surrounding the ownership, preservation, and interpretation of artifacts, monuments, heritage sites, and living traditions. Cross-listed with History of Art.
Rodini 3 credits

389.450/650 (H) Readings in Material Culture
Objects, things, “stuff”—this seminar will pursue classic texts and emerging methodologies to explore the myriad ways materials and materiality have been theorized across disciplines. For graduate/advanced undergraduate students. Cross-listed with History, History of Art, and History of Science and Technology.
Rodini and Brown 3 credits

389.460 (H) Inventing the Middle Ages
Investigate the collection, reproduction, and display of medieval objects and monuments after the Middle Ages as it connects to the history and concepts of academic disciplines such as art history, archaeology, anthropology, and history; to the building of nation states in Europe; and to the emergence of reproductive media such as prints and photographs. Cross-listed with History and History of Art.
Kingsley 3 credits

389.501/502 Independent Study in Museums and Society
Independent study allows students to develop and carry out their own research project in a related field. Projects must be approved and overseen by a supervising faculty member and approved by the Program’s Director. Students should also consult the University’s Independent Work Policy.
Rodini, Kingsley, staff (by permission), up to 3 credits.

389.521/522 Capstone in Museums and Society
The Capstone allows students to develop and carry out their own, hands-on research project in a museum, collection, archive, or other living resource. Final projects must involve some form of public presentation (exhibition, lecture, poster, web-based, etc.) and a work of self-reflection (journal, brief paper, blog, or other). Projects must be approved and overseen by a supervising faculty member and approved by the Program’s Director, in keeping with the University’s Independent Work Policy.
Rodini, Kingsley, staff (by permission), up to 3 credits. Letter grade or S/U.

Exhibits in Focus
B’more intersession. Field-trip based class considers significant regional exhibits against the background of exhibitions that transformed interpretive approaches in history, art, and science museums. Cross-listed with History of Art.

Study Abroad Ireland: Dublin: Irish Museums and Libraries From the Middle Ages to the Present
Students study the art, history, and culture of Irish museums and libraries, with behind-the-scenes tours with curators of the major art, science, and cultural museums, palaces, and historic libraries in greater Dublin. The course introduces students to the unique circumstances that shaped these cultural institutions. Students will each work on a research project on an object from either the National Museum of Ireland or Archbishop Marsh’s Library.
Havens 3 credits

Africana Studies

362.110 (H, S) Colonial Encounters: Artistic Responses
This course disrupts conventional ways of seeing, reading, and examining artistic texts. When we read a novel or study a work of art, especially that produced by white people, we tend to treat it as representative of the nation, talk about its aesthetic genius, or discuss it as reflecting its social/historical moment. Black artistic production, on the other hand, is most often treated as “protest,” as that which simply responds to a national narrative. But what would happen if we treated the experience of black people and other people of color as universal? What would happen if we treated colonialism as the dominant social and intellectual problem of our age?
Mott 3 credits


070.103 (H, S, W) Community-Based Learning: Africa and the Museum
Freshman seminar course on African material life, as created, used, collected, displayed, and discussed. Aims to introduce both Africa and its representation in the West. Cross-listed also with Africana Studies.
Guyer 3 credits (Anthropology)


040.137 (H, W) Freshman Seminar: Archaeology at the Crossroads: The Ancient Eastern Mediterranean Through Objects in the JHU Archaeological Museum
Limited to Freshmen. This seminar investigates the Eastern Mediterranean as a space of intense cultural interaction in the Late Bronze Age, exploring how people, ideas, and things not only came into contact but deeply influenced one another through maritime trade, art, politics, etc. In addition to class discussion, we will work hands-on with artifacts from the JHU Archaeological Museum, focusing on material from Cyprus. Cross-listed with Museums and Society and Near Eastern Studies.
Anderson 3 credits

040.235 Past Is Present: Cultural Heritage and Global Interactions
The uncovering, collection and valuation of the archaeological past is deeply embroiled in global interactions – diplomatic, economic, cultural. We examine the complex role of cultural heritage through consideration of case studies and analytic approaches. Frequent visits to area museums.
Anderson 3 credits

Modern Languages and Literatures

211.330 (H) Curating Media Artists in Residence
Curating Media Artists in Residence at JHU: students will be closely involved with JHU’s Center for Advanced Media Studies (CAMS), and the Baltimore Museum of Art (curator Kristen Hileman) in preparing technical aspects of the BMA Black Box exhibit of the 16mm film, Captain Gervásio’s Family, by the internationally acclaimed artist duo Tamar Guimarães and Kasper Akhøj. This black and white silent film is a portrait of a Spiritist community in Palmela, a small town in Brazil, where half of the inhabitants are believed to be psychic mediums. In addition, students will be involved in helping curate an artist talk and panel on the topic of “Documenting the Spiritual,” with the Stanford anthropologist Tanya Luhrman, and other experts on religious practices from Brazilian shamanism to various religious and spiritual practices from our own Baltimore communities. Further, students will have the unique opportunity to see some raw footage from the artists’ latest documentary film project, part fieldwork and part staging, that engages with the Palmelian psychic mediums’ cosmological perspectives. Says Tamar Guimarães: “If Captain Gervasio’s Family tied the medium’s journey into the after-life’s boundless and phantasmal modernity to cinematic spectrality–– where cinema, the ultimate modern medium is also the ashen-grey world of the haunted and the ghostly, the new film will insist on the mediums’ technological inventions.” Please note that the class time will be flexibly adapted to the needs of the artists’ residency. If you have a very full calendar in the Spring it is best advised not to take this class.
Wegenstein 3 credits

213.222 Museums and Jews, Jews in Museums
This course will examine the presence of Jews in museums. We will consider the history of the exhibition and collection of Jewish material culture in museums from the 19th century to the present day. Our main task will be to identify the various museological traditions that engage Jewish identity, including the collection of art and antiquities, ethnographic exhibitions, history museums, and Holocaust museums. Some of the questions we will ask include: How do museums shape identity? What is the relationship between the scholarly premises of many museums and their popular reception? And, centrally, what is the relationship between Jewish museums and museums of the Holocaust?
Spinner 3 credits

213.407 (H) Museums and Identity
This course will explore the phenomenon of the “identity” museum through case studies involving Jewish and Holocaust museums around the world. The museum boom of the last half-century has centered in large part around museums dedicated to the culture and history of particular minority groups; recent notable (and relatively local) examples include the brand new National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington and the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia. Our understanding of the contemporary theory and practice of such museums will be based on an examination of the history of the various museological traditions that engage Jewish identity from the 19th century to the present, including the collection and display of art and antiquities, ethnographic exhibitions, history museums, and Holocaust museums. We will deal with two primary museological phenomena: first, the introduction of the “primitive other” into European modernity via ethnographic museums; second, the museological commemoration and representation of trauma, specifically of the Holocaust. We will explore these topics through historical documents, theoretical readings, and case studies including visits to nearby museums. All readings in English. Spinner 3 credits

213.706 Literature, Museums, Mimesis
Can museums be literary? Can literature be museal? Throughout the twentieth century and into the present, the museum has repeatedly challenged models of representation, none more so than mimesis, both as aesthetic theory and representational practice. This has been a role played by museums, both in their traditional guises as repositories of objects and—as André Malraux presciently had it—as “imaginary museums.” This course will examine the larger disruption of mimesis, and more specifically literary realism, through the particular catalyzing effects of museums. We will deal with two primary museological phenomena: first, the introduction of the “primitive other” into European modernity via ethnographic museums; second, the museological commemoration and representation of trauma, specifically of the Holocaust. Special attention will be paid to discursive, formal, and rhetorical locations of overlap between the museal and the literary, including ekphrasis, linearity, volume, and collection. Readings will include fiction, poetry, and theoretical texts, as well as secondary sources examining particular museums and exhibitions. All texts in English.
Spinner 3 credits


100.350 (H, S) The Art of Collecting in America’s Gilded Age, 1880-1920
Course is organized as an upper division seminar for students with interest in history, art history, and museum studies, focuses on the art of the collection of wealthy Americans during the fabled Gilded Age, ca. 1880-ca. 1920. Topics to be discussed include the motives, both personal and patriotic, underlying the formation of these collections, the ideas and circumstances that contributed to the creation of municipal museums such as New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the relationship between these collections, both private and public, and America’s national identity.
Kagan 3 credits

100.372 (H) The Victorians
This course focuses on the politics of everyday life, consumption, intimate relations, and concepts of the self in Victorian Britain (1837-1901). Particular attention is devoted to Victorian visual culture, including exhibitions, built environment, decorative arts, and leisure culture. Other themes include popular nationalism, class cultures, feminism and body politics, Empire and racial thought.
Walkowitz 3 credits

100.470 (H, S) Monuments and Memory in Asian History
This seminar explores the ritual, political, and religious significance of architectural sites in Asia. We also examine their more recent role as signifiers of cultural and national identities and in tourism.
Meyer-Fong 3 credits

History of Art

010.221 Shopping for Status: Patronage and Collecting at the Early Modern European Court
At the early modern European princely court, wonders of art (ancient sculptures, priceless tapestries, masterpieces of oil on canvas) were displayed alongside wonders of religion, science, and nature (saintly relics, astronomical devices, unicorn horns). Through the study of courtly patronage and collecting practices, this seminar will examine the court as both a locus of power and a social organism. Students will explore the way players at court staged strategic and social exchange through the circulation, organization, display and concealment of art and artifacts to powerful ends.
Teresi 3 credits

010.305 Global Modern Art: Asia, Africa, the Pacific, and the Americas
Artists around the world grappled with the modern, working through local concerns and struggles but continually engaged with counterparts in Europe, North America, and across the “global South.” This course will introduce art, artists, movements, and institutions of modernism from approximately 1880 to the present and from outside of the northern Atlantic while critically examining the very notion of “global modernism.”
Brown 3 credits

010.307 Diplomats, Dealers, and Diggers: The Birth of Archaeology and the Rise of Collecting from the 19th c. to Today
The development of archaeology in the Middle East—its history of explorers, diplomats, missionaries and gentlemen-scholars—profoundly shaped the modern world, from the creation of new museums and the antiquities market to international relations and terrorism.
Feldman 3 credits

010.310 (H) The ‘Long Sixties’ in Europe
Emphasis will be on advanced artistic practice primarily in France, Italy, the Benelux, and German-speaking countries; students will curate an exhibition of avant-garde journals from the Sheridan Libraries.
Warnock 3 credits

010.312 (H) Surrealism

Topics include: art and the unconscious; “psychic automatism” and its implications for theories of medium, genre and composition; objects, journals and exhibitions. Visits to Special Collections and the BMA, and production of a small exhibition in the JHU library. History of Art
Warnock 3 credits

010.334 (H) Problems in Ancient American Art
Selected topics which may include art of the ancient scribe and visual communication (Maya, Aztec, Mixtec, Inka), imperial art and architecture (Aztec Moche, Inka), sacred media and indigenous aesthetics (Mesoamerica, Andes), the role of American art in the European Kunstkammer, collection and exhibition of antiquities, the antiquities market and art crimes. (Note: this course is only cross-listed with M&S when the particular topic is appropriate, subject to Instructor and Director approval.)
DeLeonardis 3 credits

010.366 Native American Art
Survey of the principle visual arts of North America (1500 BC-AD 1600). Introduction to interpretive theory and methodology. Collections study in local and regional museums. Also cross-listed with Archaeology and PLAS.
DeLeonardis 3 credits

010.382 (H) The Politics of Display in South Asia
Through examining collecting, patronage, colonial exhibitions, and museums, this course examines how South Asia has been constructed in practices of display. Themes: politics of representation, spectacle, ethnography, and economies of desire related to colonialism and the rise of modernity.
Brown 3 credits

010.424 (H) Collecting Roman Art: From Antiquity to the Present
A survey of the most important collections of Greek and Roman Sculpture from the late-Republican age through the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, until the creation of the main museums in Europe and in the United States.
Tucci 3 credits

010.666 (H) Exhibiting the Other
A graduate seminar open to advanced undergraduates, the course assesses the politics, theory, and practice of displaying what still operates as the “other” despite challenges to museum practices of displaying the art and visual culture of regions and periods outside of the Euro-American mainstream.
Brown Graduate course.

History of Science and Technology

140.115 (H, S) Humans and Artifacts
This course explores the relationship between humans and artifacts, and the different dimensions of objects: historical, sociological and psychological.
Frummer 3 credits

140.123 (H) Johns Hopkins: The Idea of a University
Who was Ira Remsen and why is he interred in the building bearing his name? Was the School of Medicine’s best surgeon really a life-long drug addict? This freshman seminar will explore the history of our university since its founding in 1876, including its schools of medicine, public health, nursing, the Applied Physics Laboratory and SAIS. We’ll look carefully at the archives and develop a thematic class exhibit. Research and writing intensive. History of Science and Technology.
Leslie 3 credits

140.215 (H, S) Monuments and Memory
This course explores the construction or discovery, and the enduring significance, of selected monuments in the West, including national memorials, national parks, and other architectural and engineering milestones. It investigates how they were made, interpreted, and represented in art, literature, popular culture, and tourism.
Leslie 3 credits

140.320 Modernity on Display: Technology and Ideology in the Era of World War II
Seminar focuses on ideological and cultural warfare over technological modernity with special emphasis upon Worl War II and the Cold War.
Kargon and Molella 3 credits

140.351 Science Moderne: Inventing a Culture for the Future
This undergraduate seminar examines the impact of new ideas of time and space and of the second Industrial Revolution (the transformations induced by science-based technologies) on art, music, dance, urban design, architecture, and social and political thought in the first half of the 20th century.
Kargon and Molella (Smithsonian) 3 credits

140.359 Museums and Globalization
Examines how museums are linked to wider national and cultural communities, and how they mobilize resources to address political, economic, and social concerns and questions of heritage.
Kargon 3 credits

140.363 (H, S) Museums and Controversy: From the Enola Gay to Body Worlds
Exhibitions on Freud, Darwin, the Bomb, environment, the human body, and similar “hot” topics have stirred unexpected controversy. This seminar explores the origins of such heated public and scientific disagreements.
Leslie, Kargon 3 credits

140.372 (H, S) Science on Display
History of collecting, exhibiting and interpreting science and technology, from Renaissance cabinets of curiosity to modern world’s fairs, zoos, aquariums, films and science centers. Students will present their own exhibits as dioramas, web sites, documentaries or other formats.
Leslie 3 credits

Near Eastern Studies

130.251 Made for the Gods: Votive Egyptian Objects in the Archaeological Museum
This course investigates Egyptian votive objects made as gifts to the Gods. Students will learn about Egyptian religious practices and study groups of objects in the Archaeological Museum to learn to identify how they were produced, when, and for what functions. Physical analyses of the objects will be part of the class and facilitated by museum staff.
Bryan 3 credits

130.334 Museum Study of Objects from the Eton College Myers Collection
Students are introduced to studying Egyptian objects through an investigation of some pieces from the Eton College Myers Collection on long term loan to the University. Cataloguing and research for these objects will be part of the course. M&S practicum course. Taught with 133.706.
Bryan 3 credits


Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) Exhibition Development Seminar
This team-based class is an intense immersion in the exhibition development process, covering every aspect of the process from artist selection to marketing. It is a year-long commitment, with both the fall and spring semesters required to participate. Hopkins students interested in this course should contact Museums and Society Director Elizabeth Rodini,

(MICA Course) AH 370.01 Problems in Contemporary Art: Exhibiting the Middle East
In a seminar format, students examine a series of case studies in recent artistic production, generally organized around a common theme; the central theme varies from year to year and instructor to instructor. Class meets Thursdays from 1:00-3:45pm. Enrollment: Students interested in enrolling in this art history, MICA course, on Islamic Art, please contact M&S Director Elizabeth Rodini.
Neel-Smith 3 credits

Online Courses

The Museum Studies (MS) program in JHU’s Advanced Academic Programs (AAP) has a limited number of courses open to advanced Museums and Society (M&S) students with appropriate prerequisite training and assuming available space in the courses as determined by AAP. Enrollment in these courses is by application to the directors of both M&S and Museum Studies and is limited to the courses listed below. M&S students may only take one AAP MS course for credit toward the M&S minor, and only with permission of the M&S director. This course must be taken for a grade. There is no extra tuition charge for these courses in fall or spring semesters, but students must adhere to the AAP academic calendar and all expectations for work at the graduate level. MS courses with a cognate offering in M&S cannot be taken for M&S credit unless the course will not be offered during a student’s tenure on the Homewood campus. Eligible courses currently include Business of Museums, Law and Public Policy, Architecture of Museums, and Museum Controversies: Ethical Issues in the Museum. (This list can be changed at the discretion of AAP, depending on availability and demand.)

Past Courses

This list of discontinued courses is representative of the types of courses the Program in Museums and Society offers in its evolving curricular programming.

389.130 (H) Mini-Course: Conservation: An Introduction to Technical Art History
This laboratory-based mini-course introduces students to the methods and resources that conservators and art historians use to identify and analyze the physical nature of works of art. Through the study of artists’ materials, examination of objects, and demonstrations of analytical equipment, students will learn how knowledge of the materials and techniques used to create works of art can significantly inform art-historical understanding. Centered on case studies and focused on objects in the BMA’s collection, the course will consider primarily painting, with examination of sculpture and works on paper as time permits. Class meets four times at the BMA. Cross-listed with History of Art.
Primeau (Director of Conservation at the BMA) 1 credit

389.245 (H) Introduction to Museum Practice
Taking the JHU Archaeological Museum as a case study and working closely with its holdings, we will discuss the principles and practice of managing and preserving museum collections. Cross-listed with Anthropology, Classics, History of Art, and Near Eastern Studies. M&S practicum course.
Balachandran 3 credits

389.330 (H) Critique of the Museum in Contemporary Art
Since the 1960s, many artists have challenged art museum conventions, contesting the assumption that museums are ideologically neutral spaces of display. This institutional critique is examined in artworks, installations, and literature. Cross-listed with History of Art.

389.320 (H) Photographs on the Edge: Ara Güler in the Archives of the Smithsonian’s Freer-Sackler Galleries
Work as a curator alongside Smithsonian staff, researching the work of Turkish photographer Ara Güler to develop an exhibit that considers relationships between the history of photography, archives, and the museum. Class will travel several times to the Freer and Sackler Galleries in Washington, D.C. Cross-listed with History of Art. M&S practicum course.
Micklewright (Exhibit Curator) 3 credits

389.350 (H) Staging Suburbia
Work as a public historian alongside Jewish Museum of Maryland curators and staff, researching primary documents and artifacts to develop an exhibition about Baltimore’s Jewish suburbs. The show will travel throughout Baltimore. Cross-listed with History and Jewish Studies. M&S practicum course.
Weiner 3 credits

389.361 Encountering the Art of South East Asia: Museum Display, Theory, and Practice
Students reconsider the exhibition and interpretation of South East Asian Art at the Walters Art Museum, developing a pilot installation to suggest a new permanent display. Class meets at the Walters Art Museum. M&S practicum course.
Mintz 3 credits.

389.364 (H) History of the Artifact
By developing a small installation at a local collection, students explore how museums use artifacts to present the past to diverse audiences. In 2009, students worked with the collection of the Baltimore Museum of Industry. Cross-listed with History. M&S practicum course.
Museum Staff 3 credits

389.365 (H) Close Looking at the BMA
This course takes an interdisciplinary approach to the careful consideration of one or several works of art in the collection of the Baltimore Museum of Art. Creative final projects enhance the educational mission of the museum. Meets at the BMA. Cross-listed with History of Art. M&S practicum course.
Rodini 3 credits

389.366 (H) Interpreting Warhol: An Introduction to Museum Education
A hybrid between art history and an introduction to museum practices, this course culminates in developing education programs for the BMA’s exhibition dedicated to Andy Warhol. Cross-listed with History of Art. M&S practicum course.
Bautista (BMA) 3 credits

389.367 (H) Walking With Reliquaries
Students study medieval objects from the Walters Art Museum collection with the curator, and design interpretative tools that will be used in an upcoming exhibition at the museum. Cross-listed with History of Art. M&S practicum course.
Bagnoli (Walters) 3 credits

389.368 (H) Artists, Museums, and Social Purpose: Contemporary Models
How do artists working today engage with museums? Students explore these partnerships in theory and practice, proposing a local installation in collaboration with artist-instructor Peter Bruun. Cross-listed with History of Art and Homewood Art Workshops. M&S practicum course.
Bruun 3 credits

389.369 Encountering the Art of East Asia: Museum Display, Theory, and Practice
Students reconsider the exhibition and interpretation of East Asian Art at the Walters Art Museum, developing a pilot installation to suggest a new permanent display. M&S practicum course. Class meets at the Walters Art Museum. Cross-listed with East Asian Studies.
Mintz 3 credits.

Past Cross-Listed Courses
Africana Studies

African Visions: Art Objects, Context, and Interpretations
A hands-on class that addressed the relationship between art and its contexts by focusing on the histories and inventions of African art objects. Film, print media, and museums will all be considered. Cross-listed with History of Art. M&S practicum course.
Milbourne (BMA) 3 credits

Black Baltimore History: Introduction to Research
This course focuses on major topics in 20th-century black Baltimore history. Using the rich reporting of black newspapers, in particular Baltimore’s Afro-American newspapers, as well as images and exhibits related to African-American history, students will explore daily life in African-American neighborhoods, the history of racial segregation in Baltimore City, civil rights activism in Baltimore, black power politics, changing urban demographics during the 20th century, and the contested nature of depictions of African-American life and history. As part of the course, students will research and curate online exhibits of primary source materials. M&S practicum course.
Hinderer 3 credits

Seeing Baltimore History: Race and Community
The course considers questions of community and race in Baltimore during the 20th century. Students will study the reporting of local newspapers, in particular the rich archives of the Baltimore Afro American Newspaper, which includes many unpublished photographs. Topics include daily life in Baltimore, interracial activism and conflict, civil rights, and changing demographics of the city. Students will produce an online exhibit. M&S practicum course.
Hinderer 3 credits


070.287 (H, S, W) Displaying Race
Through hands-on archival and museum research, students in this class will develop a proposal for displaying a small collection of plaster busts that were cast in the late 19th century from live indigenous subjects. Readings from the class will explore the ethical, legal, and political issues surrounding the public display of anthropological and historical artifacts that were collected as part of now-discredited regimes of racial classification. How can displays be used to reveal the distance that separates 19th-century racial thought from our modern-day understandings of physical and cultural difference? How can we responsibly display likenesses that may have been collected under coercive conditions? How can such objects be used to educate people about the place of indigenous peoples in the museum? What laws and ethical conventions govern the display of such objects? In addition to regular class meetings, students will be expected to carry out archival research and interviews in local archives and museums.
Poole 3 credits (Anthropology)


100.350 (H, S) The Art of Collecting in America’s Gilded Age, 1880–1920
Course is organized as an upper-division seminar for students with interest in history, art history, and museum studies, focuses on the art collections of wealthy Americans during the fabled Gilded Age, ca. 1880–ca. 1920. Topics to be discussed include the motives, both personal and patriotic, underlying the formation of these collections; the ideas and circumstances that contributed to the creation of municipal museums such as New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art; and the relationship between these collections, both private and public, and America’s national identity.
Kagan 3 credits

100.353 (H, S) Remembering Vietnam: Documenting, Capturing, and Preserving a Divisive War
This is a course to teach students about a divisive war, its documentation, and its memorialization through gathering images, interviews, and other data. A lab unit is required.
Walters 4 credits

100.376 (H, S) Baltimore as Historical Site
This class uses the historical site of Baltimore to demonstrate the spatial context of major events in U.S. and urban history.
Ryan 3 credits

History of Art

Exhibiting the Global
Processes of globalization have increasingly structured the ways in which art institutions and their audiences display and perceive the world. This course will attempt to address some of the theoretical problems facing contemporary art in the global context from the display of others to theories of subjectivity impacted by the increasing movement of peoples and expansion of communication technologies. The course explores some historical precedents of exhibiting global cultures beginning with colonial and world exhibitions. It also examines a number of global exhibitions in recent decades as case studies in exhibiting the global.
Wofford 3 credits

Past Intersession Courses

The following Museums and Society courses have been offered during winter or summer intersession. Starred courses are offered with some regularity. Contact the program or instructor for more information on schedules and course details.

*Study Abroad France: Surveying Paris: Museums. Monuments. Memory
Investigate how museums have shaped Paris’ physical, social and imaginary landscape. Topics range from the place of the Louvre in the French Revolution to the remaking of Versailles as a monument to monarchy; from the use of the medieval past to the technological expositions of the 19th century; from art as a stamp of modernity to its role in constructing a post-colonial nation. Will be offered again in 2014.

Study Abroad London: English Museums and Libraries From the Middle Ages to the Modern Era
Behind-the-scene tours with instructor and curators of the major art, science, cultural museums, palaces, and historic rare book and manuscript libraries in greater London. Introduces students to the unique historical circumstances that shaped each unique museum & collection and their respective missions from the late Middle Ages through the foundation of the first great public museums and libraries during the second half of the 18th and the 19th centuries, and beyond.
Havens 3 credits (A blog post about the class’ visit to the V&A is here)

Art in London

In this 3-week summer study abroad course in the UK, students get up close with the London art world, investigating art from the Renaissance through the 21st century. They visit all of the major art museums, seeing the highlights of each collection; visit the major art dealers and auction houses to learn about the commercial side of the art world; and meet with some of the world’s leading art specialists to discuss their jobs and gain a behind-the-scenes view of this important artistic center. This course is an ideal introduction to students interested in pursuing a career anywhere in the art world.

Study Abroad Spain: Southern Spain and Morocco (History)
An interdisciplinary approach to the arts, cultures and history of al-Andalus during medieval and early Renaissance times. Topics include changing relationships between Christians, Muslims and Jews; the place of al-Andalus in the wider world of Islam, North Africa and the Mediterranean, and the evolution of the region’s art, architecture and urban forms. Lectures and visits to major sites, monuments and museums.
Kagan and Simpson 3 credits

Study Abroad Madrid: Perspectives on the History of Spain, Its Art and Culture
The course offers an interdisciplinary approach to Spain and its cultures and art. Topics to be addressed include the country’s multi-cultural heritage (Christian, Jewish, and Muslim), its imperial era and overseas expansion, its fabled Golden Age of literature and art, and fabled decline as a world power.
Kagan 3 credits

Enframings: The Politics of Display
From “cabinets of curiosities” to modern-day museums of art, cultural and natural histories, practices of collection and display are neither banal nor apolitical. In this course, we will examine the politics of display through anthropological and philosophical texts while taking advantage of Baltimore’s vibrancy as a city of museums, art, and artists through site visits.
Banahi 3 credits

*Exhibits in Focus
B’more intersession. Field-trip-based class considers significant regional exhibits against the background of exhibitions that transformed interpretive approaches in history, art and science museums.
Kingsley 1 credit

The History of America’s Top Hospital
This course will introduce students to the history of the Johns Hopkins Hospital and the schools of medicine, nursing and public health through the collections of the Alan Mason Chesney Medical Archives. Morning will be devoted to study and discussion of primary source documents, photographs, film and material culture. The class will take tours of historic sites on the East Baltimore campus in the afternoons.

Indulging in Impressionism: The Cone Collection at the BMA (History of Art)
The course offers an introduction to the Cone Collection, a world-class selection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings acquired by two sisters. We will explore the development of radical new painting styles in tandem with the evolution of collecting and display practices that emerged in Baltimore and in Paris at the turn of the century. Includes visits to the Walters, BMA and Sheridan Rare Book Collection.
Johnson 1 credit

*Murals, Monuments, Museums: Art and Visual Culture in Baltimore and D.C.
How do monuments shape our experience of Baltimore? What is public art? How do we use art to commemorate, to record community history, to reshape urban space, to challenge our understanding of who and where we are? This course includes extensive on-site study of Baltimore and D.C. murals, monuments, and museums and talk with curators, artists, and directors. Readings will be drawn from key scholarship on urban history, architecture, public art, planning, and museum studies.

The Renaissance of the Book
A hands-on introduction to rare books and manuscripts from ancient Mesopotamia to the Industrial Era, crossing the disciplines of science and technology, art, religion, politics and literature– using the rare books and manuscripts of the Sheridan Libraries. Special emphasis is paid to the Printing Revolution of the 15th and 16th centuries, when books first emerged as a core element of material culture.
Havens 1 credit