Aspect of the museum/site in detail that relates to U.S. history

Aspect of the museum/site in detail that relates to U.S. history

historic museum report

Museum/historic site paper assignment

Length: 3 pages (not 2-3 as listed on syllabus)

Instructions for paper

Visit one of four historic sites and museums as listed below (or get permission from Prof. Klimchock via email to visit another local site). Spend at least an hour or hour and a half at the site and take notes so that you can describe with accuracy various elements of the overall location as well as several specific objects, rooms or elements of it. (Keep in mind some sites may only allow note-taking in pencil rather than pen. Or consider using a tablet or audio taping your notes. Confer with the site’s staff as to their rules). Read the whole paper instruction sheet before visiting the site so you know what to look for and take note of.

The four potential sites to visit are below. Choose one. Information listed below is subject to change, so go to the site’s website or call to confirm their days and hours of operation and the fee, if any. Driving time is an estimate. All sites can also be accessible by bus but it takes much longer to get there. Bring your student ID for the student rates. I suggest you glance at all the websites to see which one interests you most before choosing one.

African American Museum, Dallas

3536 Grand Avenue

Dallas, Texas 75210

(23 minute drive)

Admission: Free (except special exhibitions)

Closed Sundays and Mondays

Dallas Museum of Art

1717 N Harwood St

Dallas, TX 75201

(20 minute drive)

Closed Mondays

Student admission: Free for main collection ($12 for special collection)

Note: If attending this museum, focus on some aspect of North American or African art and culture (from any period)

Heritage Farmstead Museum

1900 West 15th Street

Plano, Texas 75075

(7 minute drive)

Closed Mondays

Student Admission: $3 for site, $5 for tour (either one is acceptable)

Old Red Museum of Dallas County and Culture

(22 minute drive)

Student admission: $8

Open daily

Writing instructions:

Write a narrative description of your experience at the historic site by choosing to answer three of the following four questions. Do not answer them separately under numbers, but rather weave your answers into a coherent narrative paper. You should have an introductory paragraph that describes where you went and its overview (what it is, when it was built if relevant, what is significant about it or what it houses and why it matters historically and/or to the local community). Do not just state facts as presented on the site’s website. (Any lifting directly from a website is considered plagiarism and will garner an F grade.) Paint a picture of the place you visited for the reader, situating them in the history of the site or its themes.

Try to have an overarching theme or claim that your paper will then tie together in the concluding paragraph. The body of the paper should answer some aspect of three out of the four questions (but in any order). Think about how the paper flows and use transitions from one paragraph to the next rather than just answering the questions one after the other. The paper should read like a review article of an exhibit or museum found in a newspaper or magazine. A strong paper will utilize correct grammar, have no typos, exhibit strong word choice by not repeating words much and be specific in description, as well as limit the use of passive voice.

Three of the following four questions must be answered:

Describe your impression and evaluation of the museum/site’s overall goal. What experience is it trying to provide for its visitors and how is it aiming to accomplish that through the senses (sight, sound, touch)? What do you think are its values and aims? How successful is it in achieving those? Give specific examples from the site and/or its objects in your evaluation.

Describe one specific object or aspect of the museum/site in detail that relates to U.S. history, what it signifies, what you found illuminating about it, and what you learned from it. Describe it in visual terms and also its use or importance and any relevant historical background.

Are there ways the museum or historic site surprised you? Were there aspects of presentation or exhibition that you thought could have been improved upon and if so how? Or did you find the presentation, layout, exhibition effective in its presentation of history and culture and if so how was it effective? Give specific details of the site in your explanation, potentially including descriptions of objects or themed exhibits.

In what ways is visiting a museum/historic site different from reading about history and culture? What value is there in physically interacting with history/culture? Describe some specific elements of your museum/historic site visit that relate to this, such as interactive exhibits, tours, or other aspects of the architectural, archeological or aesthetic experience. Paint a picture of what and how you experienced it, including any feelings, questions or ideas it sparked for you.

The title of your paper should be creative and should not simply repeat the name of the assignment or the location visited. It should indicate some unique aspect of your visit and/or your assessment of it.


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Aspect of the museum/site in detail that relates to U.S. history


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