History 111/Final Museum Project Assignment
? Complete the Project Proposal Form (posted on D2L) and upload it to the D2L dropbox before class begins on Wednesday, May 27. No paper copy needed; class will not meet during final exam week.
? Upload your final project to the D2L dropbox by 11:00 am Monday, June 8. Note: I can be somewhat flexible, since our official final exam period falls early in finals week. Contact me before that date if you need to arrange an extension.
Museum visit and comparative/analytical report
Visit one of the following museums, then write a 1,000- to 1,200-word report on how specific items you view there relate to some aspect of one (or more) of the civilizations we are studying. Aspects you might consider (this is not an all-inclusive list; you may find another theme you want to concentrate on):
? social structures
? gender roles
? political power
You will need to narrow down your visit (or at least your report) to a small portion of the collection for most of these museums. I recommend you spend some time on the website beforehand, deciding what part(s) of the exhibits you want to concentrate on.
I have intentionally left these instructions less detailed, to enable you to use some creativity in completing the assignment. Essentially I will be looking for analytical and reasoning skills, as well as good organization and clear, concise writing. The aim is for you to apply the skills you’ve used in your groups, analyzing visual and written sources.
A couple of ideas:
? Relate some of the art or artifacts you view to specific primary sources you’ve read or visual sources in Strayer, then discuss what they tell us about some aspect of their civilization of origin.
? Compare two civilizations: for example, what artifacts from Mesopotamia and Egypt, or perhaps ancient Rome and China, tell us about, say, the way gender relations played out in the two cultures.
There are many possibilities—feel free to bounce ideas off of me!
If you wish, you may illustrate your report with photographs of items you viewed (no flash allowed in any of these museums; make sure to check that photography is allowed in the room where your objects are displayed—it can vary from room to room). You may need to reduce the size of your images, using Paint.net or a similar photo-editing software, before embedding them into a word processing document. If your finished file is too large, you may have difficulty uploading it to D2L.
Museums to choose from
Note that you can check out a free pass for some of these museums from any Chicago Public Library branch (and some suburban public libraries, as well), with a library card.
1. The Oriental Institute Museum at the University of Chicago
Ancient Mesopotamian, Egyptian, and Persian art and artifacts
Description from the website: “The Oriental Institute Museum is a world-renowned showcase for the history, art, and archaeology of the ancient Near East. The museum displays objects recovered by Oriental Institute excavations in permanent galleries devoted to ancient Egypt, Nubia, Persia, Mesopotamia, Syria, Anatolia, and the ancient site of Megiddo, as well as rotating special exhibits.”
Hours, directions, and more information: http://oi.uchicago.edu/museum. Admission is free, $10 suggested donation (not required).
2. The Field Museum
Chicago’s enormous natural history museum, with displays on many different world cultures, including ancient Egypt, the ancient Americas, African cultures, New Zealand’s indigenous people, and more. Description from the website: “The Field Museum was founded to house the biological and anthropological collections assembled for the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893. These objects form the core of the Museum’s collections which have grown through world-wide expeditions, exchange, purchase, and gifts to more than twenty million specimens.”
Hours, directions, and more information: www.fieldmuseum.org. Basic admission to the general collection (not special exhibits) is $15 with student ID. Free days for Illinois residents with ID, June 4, 5, and 8.
3. The Museum of the Art Institute of Chicago
World-class art museum, including extensive collections of Asian, African, American Indian, and Ancient European art. Description from the website: “Built on rubble from the 1871 Chicago fire, the museum housed a collection of plaster casts and had a visionary purpose: to acquire and exhibit art of all kinds and to conduct programs of education. The collection now encompasses more than 5,000 years of human expression from cultures around the world.”
Hours, directions, and more information: www.artic.edu/aic/collections/ . Student admission with ID is $12 for Chicago residents and $14 for Illinois residents; free for Illinois residents from 5 to 8 p.m. every Thursday.
NOTE: If for some reason you absolutely cannot make it to one of these museums, consult me about an alternate assignment. Also, if you have another idea for a project you would like to do, discuss it with me—there is some flexibility in this assignment. I’d like to see you work on a project you can feel most engaged with.