week 3: museum culture

Monday 5 June

Everyone read:

Jennifer Hansen-Glucklich, “The Artful Eye: Learning to See and Perceive Otherwise inside Museum Exhibits,” in Holocaust Memory Reframed: Museums and the Challenges of Representation (New Brunswick: Rutgers Univ Press, 2014), 85-115 (plus notes/biblio). PDF on E-Reserves.

Kuper, Ajax, the Dutch, the War (New York: Nation Books, 2012): ch. 8, “Strange Lies: Ajax, World War II, and P. G. Wodehouse”; ch. 15: “Disneytown and the Secret Monuments.”

Also: google search images of any of the examples above, and for images of public monuments of any sort in Amsterdam.

Grad students also read:

Reesa Greenberg, “Jews, Museums, and National Identities,” Ethnologies 24.4 (2002): 125-137. Gelman Library databases.

New post  – include your name/username at top; add a relevant image (cite it), and give your post a title, please:

What do you think about Hansen-Glucklich’s framework for viewing museum exhibits and a museum’s “grammar” as a whole? What does it mean to see a museum in this way, not just for what (factually, informationally) the museum is telling you, but for how the museum is telling you, and what that says about the curators’ own ideologies? (Grad students: how does Greenberg complicate this further?) When and how have you thought about these issues when visiting any museums (whether historical or art museums)?

Importantly, can you apply these ideas to the broader scope of public memory that Kuper is talking about? How closely does K-G’s framework for museums fit onto, say, monuments in open space? Use an example you found online to talk about this.

Tuesday 6 June

Comment as you have before:  Each of you makes two comments. Each of you receives two comments. Try to draw each other out more on this: What do we want from museums and public monuments?

Wednesday 7 June


Leslie Witz and Ciraj Rassool, “Family Stories or a Group Portrait? South Africa on Display at the KIT Tropenmuseum, 2002-2003: The Making of an Exhibition,” Southern African Studies 32.4 (2006): 737-754. [GW Library databases.]

AND your choice of:

Louis Middelkoop and Matthew Pesko, “Symbolic Objects of Dutch Colonial History in Amsterdam: Monuments, Streets and Other Structures,” Humanity in Action, 2008.


Lisa Francisco, “But it was so long ago: Confronting the Dutch Slave Past, Present, and Future in the Classroom,” Humanity in Action, 2003.

Comment on your own original post:

Respond to your peers but also explicitly working to apply K-G’s framework and any insights from Kuper to one or both of these examples: How & where should The Netherlands be addressing its history of slavery and/or colonialism? Have you seen examples in other museums that they might adapt? Can curation escape any of the traps K-G has pointed out in the display of trauma?

Thursday 8 June

Comment on one peer’s new comments. What should they focus on and develop for Essay 3?

Saturday 10 June

Essay 3 as new post:

What do you make of these approaches to curating Dutch national history & memory? How can Dutch museums and public monuments perform their responsibilities (what are those?) without falling into the traps that the enterprise itself seems to lay for them? Apply your ideas to a specific case in Amsterdam–drawing on whatever resources you can to learn about that exhibit/monument online.

You may draw from your own experience with museums/monuments, or with current issues in American national memory, but keep the focus on how this should apply to The Netherlands (and Amsterdam in particular). You might also draw from any of the previous readings–do you see insights there that you can apply here?

Title it. Indicate your name or Wp username at the top of the essay, please. Add one or more relevant images. Cite all sources–including the images–in a reference list.


Review the travel information (linked from main menu). I’ll add to it as I have more details.

And please start browsing weeks 5-6: amsterdam itinerary. (If you forgot the password, check email from me or ask me again.)

Grad students, especially: Wed 21 June includes info on registering as a reader at the Rijksmuseum Library. Once registered, you can request materials online and have them waiting for you.