The Curating Class emerged out of a need to offer more hands-on experience to our Art History majors and graduate students. Led by a different faculty member each spring, the course covers a new topic every time it is taught. We have worked with local museums as well as with the George Mason University Art Collection, and have organized shows on topics ranging from modern Latin American art to plaster casts of Ancient Greek and Roman, medieval, renaissance, and Southeast Asian sculpture.
In the class students participate in every aspect of curating an actual exhibition, including choosing an exhibition theme, writing a proposal, creating a checklist and selecting objects, proposing and seeking sources of funding, designing the exhibition layout, conducting archival research, writing wall text, designing and writing the exhibition catalogue or website, creating marketing materials, planning educational programs, helping to install and de-install the show, and giving gallery tours.
The course provides a rare opportunity for students to work with real objects and undertake original research and material analysis. The class therefore provides valuable experience for students who wish to pursue careers in museum and gallery settings.