TEACHING IDEAS AND TOOLSCarla Gerona
I have created this space to post ideas and tools related to studio teaching. As someone who primarily teaches core classes to non-history majors, I believe such innovative history courses are useful for all students, not just history majors. I first wrote about how to teach a workshop class in an article called, “Plan C for Curate: Teaching Studio History and Museum Studies.” I have posted a brief overview with a few exemplary assignments below. I am currently teaching another studio course called, “Revolutions in Early American Digital History,” and I will be posting related material about that here as well.
Abstract: “Plan C for Curate: Teaching Studio History and Museum Studies ” argues that doing creative teaching at the intersection of historical and museum studies is critical for all students because “curation” has become an important form of communication for all. I have taught a class called “Introduction to Museum Studies” more than six times: twice in collaboration with a museum and the rest out of our history program. The paper explores both the museum model and the history department model, highlighting two principles: collaboration and student ownership. My ultimate goal is to show how any historian – even one who has no training in material culture – can teach such a studio class.
Full article coming soon!
The topics change every semester. But over the years, I developed a practical formula for teaching “Introduction to Museum Studies” that divides the course into three components:
- Portfolio Research
- Storyboarding the Exhibit
- Building the Exhibit.
Organizing the class in this way encourages maximum involvement at the individual and group level.
I break down complex research into small weekly steps, as you can see from this portfolio grading rubric. At each step students look for good stories, iconic quotes, and informative images.
STORYBOARDING THE EXHIBIT
Students decide on their main ideas and piece together their stories — sometimes they work as a class, in their groups, or individually. They gather their assets and compose their exhibit — often students create panels, as though each panel was a gallery wall.
BUILDING THE EXHIBIT
In addition to printing and mounting, students create posters and organize an opening reception. Sometimes one group will do the poster, but if time permits each student creates one. When my students did the exhibit “Game Changer” about nineteenth century sports, they collected all their posters into books, and made the books part of the show.