Choose and visit one of the following museum exhibitions/collections:

Choose and visit one of the following museum exhibitions/collections:

Arts of the Americas (not “American Art”) (permanent) – Dallas Museum of Art

Classical (“ancient Mediterranean”) art collection (permanent) – Dallas Museum of Art

Art of the Ancient Americas (permanent) – Kimbell Museum (Fort Worth)

Ancient/Antiquities (Greek, Roman, Egyptian, etc.) collection (permanent) – Kimbell

It must be one of these two museums, and must be one of the collections referenced.

(Check the museum’s web page for hours, etc. The DMA and the Kimbell are normally free except for some special exhibitions.)

Choose two different artifacts to analyze, representing the same culture group. Do not choose two of the same type of item (e.g., two weapons, or pots, or garments); pick different kinds of things. These must be old items, recovered by archaeologists, not items representing a modern-day group of people.

· Begin by looking only at the items themselves, without reading any of the accompanying descriptions (except to check that they are from the same culture group). Can you tell what their purpose was/is? What are they made of? Can you determine anything at all about the culture that created them just from your observation of the item itself?

· Then, read the item description and other interpretive materials that the museum has available. Consider using an “audio tour” if one is available. What more do you learn? How did archaeologists and other scholars arrive at their conclusions about these artifacts (or does it even tell you this)? Do you think there are other interpretations possible?

You may want to bring along a notebook of some kind to make notes to yourself, or sketches of the artifacts, during this process.

Your “report” should be 4-5 pages (typed, double-spaced). The first half should be a description of the two artifacts as you experienced them before you accessed any additional information, as precise as you can make it, and should include your own early hypotheses about them. The second half should be a more complete description of the artifacts and their culture, and how the artifacts fit into that culture, as well as any reflections you may have about how they were interpreted and explained by their discoverers and/or by the museum that displays them. This is an observation paper, not a research paper. Your only acceptable “sources” are the artifact itself, the museum display, audio tour if available, and museum personnel. You may NOT use/cite other, outside sources. (That’s not the point of the assignment.)


If you want to include photographs along with your report, that is fine (though check with the museum; some do not permit photography). However, in this case a picture is not worth a thousand words; it does not substitute for accurate description or thoughtful analysis, and may not be included in your page count.

You are welcome to travel to the museum with other class members and to discuss your findings with one another, but your observations and writing must be your own.

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