The twelve Art History undergraduates in the spring Museum Object class opened their exhibition Inked! The Evolution of Print Culture to an enthusiastic crowd on April 18 in the WJB Gallery. The installation illustrated the transformative power of the printing press, exhibiting printed pages from the Renaissance from a collection generously donated to the Art & Design Library by Tobias Mostel. After studying the history of print culture and exhibition design in class, the students composed a setting reminiscent of a collector’s library to showcase a variety of prints as well as information on the printing revolution, artistic processes of works on paper, and book collectors in America.
Students in the Museum Object class are grouped by the instructor, PhD candidate Alison Reilly, into four teams: curatorial, education/catalogue, digital/development, and installation. The curatorial students create an inventory of the objects. The education/catalogue team formats the catalogue and composes informative wall placards. The digital/development unit generates a website and social media pages for the exhibition, and leads a fundraising effort through a SparkFSU page working closely with Jessica Comas, the Director of Development for the College of Fine Arts. Finally, the installation group designs the exhibition layout and frames the prints in the collection. Additionally, all of the students research the objects in the collection, write wall labels, and with the assistance of Wayne Vonada, Senior Preparator at the Museum of Fine Arts, FSU, install the show.
These student-curated exhibitions are an essential component of the Museum & Cultural Heritage Studies program. Thanks to the availability of the exquisite WJB Gallery, helpful collaborations with faculty and staff, and the generous cooperation of university and local collections, students are able to mount a new exhibition every semester. From curating to fundraising, promotion, and exhibition design, the class provides Art History undergraduate students with valuable hand-on experience in a gallery setting to prepare them for careers as museum professionals.
For a look at the Museum Object class in action, watch the documentary of the Fall 2015 exhibition This Is How It Happened: An Officer’s Perspective on the Okinawa Occupation: