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ANTH 319 Museum Interpretation & Audiences: Home

Course guide for Anthropology 319 taught by Joanna K. Gilmore

Julia Child's Kitchen: Smithsonian National Museum of American History

Course Description

In this course, museums and heritage sites are broadly defined through their roles and value, in encouraging discourse about meaning, identity and sense of place. Various mission statements and objectives are discussed to gain a greater understanding of museums and heritage sites in society today. Communication and learning theories are used to inform discussions about increasing access to heritage for diverse audiences. Through this course, students will gain a practical understanding about how to conduct effective audience research and evaluation. Students will be able to identify and develop different media tools for interpretation including:

  • objects
  • space
  • writing interpretive text
  • creating engaging interactive media
  • using artwork and human resources 

Course Goals and Objectives

  1. In this class, students should come to the understanding that through creative engagement museums can effect positive change
  2. By the end of the course, students will be able to communicate the purpose of museums and how they have changed over time
  3. Students will effectively articulate the role of museums in the construction of knowledge and the presentation of culture
  4. Students will be capable of describing hte changing relationship between museums, their audiences and communities
  5. students will develop and awareness of the complexities of communication and learning within and around museums and how to evaluate visitor participation and museum services
  6. Students will understand how to use different interpretation and communication media effectively


Mary Jo Fairchild's picture
Mary Jo Fairchild