Curating the Past

History of the Museum

            What roles do museums really play in our society?  The answer might surprise you.  This course explores the origins and development of the museum to the present.  It explores museums not as static repositories of artifacts but as carefully designed and curated representations of the past, designed to tell a story.  We will explore how these narratives are created and challenges of public history vs. academic history.  How do you present history to the broader public?  What are the controversies and pitfalls encountered?

            We will explore these issues through case studies, readings, tours of museums, and behind the scenes conversations with museum professionals.  Assignments will include readings, quizzes, short papers, and an exhibit project.  This course will be smaller discussion based one with a max capacity of 25.

Corcoran Department of History
University of Virginia
Nau Hall - South Lawn
Charlottesville, VA 22904


(434) 924-7147
(434) 924-7891
M-F 8am to 4:30pm
Department Contacts