Museum studies tackles different topics from year to year. This fall, museum studies students study cabinets of curiosities, the ubiquitous 20th-century convention of the plain white gallery, and the demands and contributions of college and university museums.
Students explore a number of issues of museum history, theory, and practice. In an unusual approach, the course began a week early so students could spend 5 concentrated days together reading foundational texts and visiting museums in Des Moines, Iowa City, and Ames (art museums, science museums, and history museums). The early start time gives the group a chance to develop a shared foundation, and class meetings for the rest of the semester are reduced to give students time to pursue the assignments and projects at the heart of the course.