Art Historians Stress Importance of Museums

At yesterday's Faculty Symposium, "Image, Object, and the Teaching Museum Today," speakers discussed the role of the museum in a university.

"The museum has a distinctive role to play in the education of the art historian," said Nancy Troy, associate professor and chair of the art history department at North-western University.

In her remarks, Troy called upon university museums to diversify their collections by seeking more non-traditional works of art such as clothing and wallpaper to complement traditional paintings and scupltures.

Troy also described the negative ramifications of ignoring modern technology in the analysis of artwork academic analysis of artwork, illustrating her remarks with slides of a painting that had been incorrectly interpreted until X-ray photographs were examined.

Criticizing the "hush" atmosphere and police type surveillance common in many museums, Professor of Fine Arts Norman Bryson contrasted the traditional disciplinary model of a museum with the "vagabond" model, where art objects are not arranged based solely on their media.


"Is the teaching with objects in museums best understood through the model of disciplinary vision?" Bryson asked.

Finally, Professor of History Simon M. Schama addressed the integral relationship between history and art and the necessity of "an exploration of the culture that produced the work [of art]."

"There can be no art without history and no history without art," Schama concluded.

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