RESEARCH PAPER ASSIGNMENT
Task: Write an 8-page research essay in which you invent a “mini museum exhibition” of 3-4 objects. The paper should incorporate visual analysis, a critical argument, and historical evidence.
Due: Final paper to be handed in Thursday March 7, at the beginning of class.
This assignment asks you to imagine that you are a museum curator. You have been assigned to design an exhibition of 3-4 objects from American art and visual culture of the late nineteenth century. Your selected objects should work together to critically examine one of the themes discussed in class (for example, issues of representation and race, landscape, ethnicity, gender, labor, trans-Atlanticism, design and decoration, consumer culture, or some combination you create on your own). The paper should begin by explaining the concept and/or cultural problematic that shapes your exhibition. It should include a thesis that strongly states your point of view/argument (in this case, what you want your imaginary museum-goers to learn from the exhibition). Then by comparing/contrasting the works and by contextualizing them through historical research, your exhibition essay should link the individual objects together into a well-articulated narrative.