Johns Hopkins University
Fall/Winter 2006
Vol. 4, No. 1


New Faces, New Digs

A Merger with Momentum

Stellar Achievements

> Beyond the Ivory Tower—to Museums

New Faculty Arrive on the Scene

A New Schedule Aims to End "Binge" Learning

Student Standouts

Faculty Books

Your Words

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Beyond the Ivory Tower—to Museums

Museums aren’t just buildings that hold art and artifacts, says Elizabeth Rodini, a senior lecturer in the Krieger School’s History of Art Department. They are places where the public can encounter the fruits of academic work—the ideas generated in a university.

“Far more people experience history through the Smithsonian Institution than through scholarly publications,” says Rodini. “Museums are a place for public presentation of complex ideas, and universities are beginning to realize this is important—that they need to be talking to an audience beyond their own borders.”

That idea, coupled with Hopkins’ strength in the humanities and the wealth of excellent museums in Baltimore, has prompted Krieger School leaders to create a new interdisciplinary program devoted to the study of museums. The Museums and Society program, which started this summer, promotes the study of institutions that collect, preserve, and interpret material culture.

The program, which will become available as a minor later this year, is supported by an advisory board that includes faculty members from anthropology, classics, history, history of art, history of science, German and Romance languages, and Near Eastern studies. Students will have a practical component to their studies, either via internships, field trips or through classes organized around curating an exhibition. The program offered its first course this past summer—Art in London, held in that city. Classes for the fall semester include Introduction to Material Culture, Art Collecting and The Rise of the Museum, and Art Museum Policy and Practice.

In addition to its curricular offerings, the new program aims to strengthen cultural ties between Hopkins and the region’s many cultural institutions, says Rodini, the program’s associate director, who came to Hopkins two years ago to serve as university liaison to the Baltimore Museum of Art and the Walters Art Museum.

The development of a minor in museum studies was one of the recommendations of the Homewood Arts Task Force, which submitted its final report in May 2005.

“What this program is meant to do is to get students thinking about the broader impact of what we do in the academy,” explains Adam Falk, the James B. Knapp Dean of the Krieger School. “This is an interdisciplinary undergraduate program that can unify students and faculty across the humanities. It’s a real natural for us.”