Curating Experience students will design exhibits for the Berkshire Museum. Student teams will select objects from among the nearly 40,000 items in the Museum’s permanent collection, which includes works of art, natural specimens, and historically significant artifacts. Each design should offer a thematic, interdisciplinary experience to Museum goers. Exhibits will be designed for installation in one of the Berkshire Museum’s “MiMu’s”–small, modular, mobile exhibition platforms. Students will present their exhibit designs to the Berkshire Museum staff and other experts. The Berkshire Museum’s mission is to bring people together for experiences that spark creativity and innovative thinking by making inspiring educational connections among objects from art, history, and natural science. A large portion of the collection was initially purchased by Zenas Crane, who founded the Museum in 1903, as a “window on the world” for Berkshire County residents. Class will meet two times a week for three hours. Students will have both direct and digital access to the Museum’s collection in Pittsfield. Class sessions will include training in observation and interpretation. We will employ techniques to gauge engagement potential, including design thinking. Curating Experience will be co-taught by Jeff Rodgers, the Executive Director of the Berkshire Museum, and Jeffrey Thomas, the Executive Director of Lever, the North Adams-based entrepreneurship center. Rodgers has worked with several college students on curation projects at the Bishop Museum of Science and Nature. Thomas has taught several Winter Study courses on entrepreneurship that have integrated Design Thinking into the student experience. Format: lecture, readings and hands-on participation. Jeffrey Thomas is a Trustee of the Berkshire Museum since 2018. He brings to that role his passion for education, his commitment to innovation, and his service to the Berkshire community. This course will blend those themes while providing an opportunity for students to develop future presentation concepts for visitors to the Berkshire Museum. Jeffrey is the Executive Director of Lever, a non-profit economic development group. He launched Williams’ Entrepreneur Program in 2012. Jeff Rodgers is the Executive Director of the Berkshire Museum. Prior to that he served in leadership roles at the Bishop Museum of Science and Nature, and at the Amercian Museum of Natural History.
The Class: Format: lecture
Grading: pass/fail only
Grading: pass/fail only
Requirements/Evaluation: attendance, participation, final presentation
Enrollment Preferences: instructors will base selection on the applicants' explanation of their interest in and goals for the course
Materials/Lab Fee: none