T104 | Authentically Imperfect:
200 Years of Historic Decisions Defining the Museum
in the 21st Century
| David Mickenberg

Tuesdays 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.| Sessions
In-person at BCC -
9/19, 9/26, 10/3, 10/10, 10/17, 10/24
Limit: 30

Since its origins in the 19th century, the art museum has been defined by expectations, beliefs, decisions, and changing professional standards. This has led to a persistent search for relevancy and meaning in American society. Often considered a source of civic improvement, education, economic development, political theater, community building, social justice, and unending creativity, the art museum has been buffeted by changing values, historical precedent, constituent change, and the limitations of the non-profit structure.

This five-week course will discuss specific case studies from the 19th through 20th centuries whose impact on museums in the 21st century has been profound. Some of what we will be exploring are:

• Metropolitan Museum of Art’s decision to accession the Cesnola collection of antiquities in the 1870s;

• The Museum of Modern Art’s presentation of the Family of Man exhibition in 1955;

• The Smithsonian’s censure of the 1995 exhibition of the restored Enola Gay;

• The Baltimore Museum of Art’s 2020 controversial collection deaccessioning plan

David Mickenberg has been the Director of the Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University, the Director of the Davis Museum at Wellesley College, and President and CEO of the Taubman Museum of Art in Roanoke, Virginia, and the President and CEO of the Allentown Art Museum in Allentown, PA. He was faculty at the Getty Leadership Institute in LA, Co-Chair of the Center for Interdisciplinary Research in the Arts at Northwestern and faculty in art history and museum studies at Muhlenberg College. He currently is President of the Lehigh Valley Arts and Cultural Alliance. He is the co-editor of The Last Expression: Art and Auschwitz and co-curator of the exhibition of the same title. He is one of several authors of the book, Printmaking in American, 1960-1990 and author of Songs of Glory: Medieval Art 12th through 15th Centuries.

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