HISTORY 101 MUSEUM RESEARCH PROJECT
There are two kinds of historical sources: the first is primary sources that are either written documents or artifacts—paintings, sculptures, monuments, maps, etc.—that provide valuable insights into the past; the second is secondary sources that are written by historians and scholars that provide interpretations of primary sources.
For this research project, you will be using artifacts in local museums or government buildings as primary sources. Since you are acting as historians, you will rely on primary firsthand information for your clues about the past, only turning to secondary sources for background and general information. The whole purpose of this assignment is that I want to know your opinions about the artifacts and buildings you analyze. This project must be IN YOUR OWN WORDS. Any information from secondary sources (not required) must be in quotes with citations provided in footnotes.
1. 3-4 double-spaced pages (using #12 font)
2. Must include one photo that you have taken of the artifact or building.
3. Must include one photo of yourself at the museum or building to verify that you were at the site.
4. Must be written in the first person as if this were a journal or diary entry.
5. Artifacts must be related to the history of western civilization from the period 3000BCE to 1600CE.
Art of the Ancient World (3000BCE – 400BCE): Visit a gallery with Egyptian or Greek art and choose an artifact that you find interesting. Your paper should include the following: (1) What is the official name of the artifact; (2) Describe it in detail using your own words; (3) How does the artifact represent the characteristics of the culture in which it was created? (4) How has the gallery chosen to display the artifact?
Architecture of the Roman World (500BCE – 300CE): Choose a building or monument in our area that utilizes architectural components from the ancient Greeks or Romans. Your paper should include the following: (1) Describe in detail the building’s design and elements (arches, pillars, use of color, type of stone, etc.); (2) What is it about the design and elements that suggest Greek or Roman influences? (3) Why do you think the architects/builders chose to use the Greek/Roman design for this building?
Primary Sources of the Middle Ages (600-1400CE): We will learn that the primary preoccupations of the Middle Ages were religion and warfare. (1) Choose an artifact that represents either the religious emphasis of Christian Europe or the militaristic focus of this era (don’t overlook armor as an option); (2) Describe the artifact in your own words; (3) What do you think was its main function and purpose; (3) What feelings were the creators—whether artisans, artists, or scribes—trying to evoke in the viewers? (4) What specific groups of people might have been the audience for this piece? (5) What other themes, besides God and war, are evident in the collection as a whole?
(In order to avoid wasted trips, make sure you check museum and gallery websites to see what exhibitions are available during your visit.)
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D. C.
National Museum of the American Indian, Washington, D.C.
National Museum of Natural History (Eternal Life in Ancient Egypt), Washington, D. C.
Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, MD (excellent Egyptian and Greek galleries, medieval art and armor; one of the best museums in the area).
Baltimore Museum of Art, Greek and Roman exhibits.
The National Cathedral, Washington, D. C. (for medieval art and architecture).
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA (may have Egyptian and Greek art).
DUE DATE: This assignment is due in class on Monday, March 26th. It should be stapled and no covers, plastic or otherwise, are needed. 50 points per class will be deducted for late papers.