Cooperstown Graduate Program

material culture and collections coursework

Despite the advances of digital technology, physical objects remain a cornerstone of most museums. CGP offers material culture and collections courses on the history, study, care, and administration of these objects.

required classes

Collections Care and Management
HMUS 501 (1 or 3 credits)
Instructors: Erin Richardson
This course will provide students with the fundamentals of managing museum collections. Topics covered will include collections policies and procedures, manual and computerized documentation systems, sound handling and storage techniques for varied materials, and ethical and legal issues. Students will gain first-hand experience in cataloging, photography and other collections management tasks.
Spring, required second semester.


Culture and Collections I
HMUS 521 (3 credits)
Instructor: Cynthia Falk
This hands-on course is designed to familiarize students with objects made or used in the United States from the 17th to the 21st century. Participants will learn to identify objects of various materials and will consider how practitioners in a variety of academic disciplines have approached the study
of material culture. Assignments will encourage students to conduct original research using documentary sources as well as the careful inspection and comparison of actual objects. Requirements include readings, class attendance, class participation, time in the NYSHA collections, short papers,
and hands-on projects.
Fall, required first semester.


Culture and Collections II
HMUS 522 (3 credits)
Instructor: Cynthia Falk
A continuation of Culture and Collections I.
Spring, required second semester.

elective classes

American Material Culture I
HMUS 530 (3 credits)
Instructor: Cynthia Falk
This course will introduce students to important theories, methods, and issues in the historical analysis of material artifacts produced through 1860. Readings will focus on objects made or used by diverse communities within the United States. Requirements include readings, class attendance,
and participation in class activities. Students will also be responsible for facilitating discussion during one class period and will complete a final project related to American material life before the Civil War. Students will also be tested on style periods from the pre-1860 period.
Fall elective, third semester.

American Material Culture II
HMUS 531 (3 credits)
Instructor: Cynthia Falk
A continuation of Material Culture I dealing with the material culture from 1860 to the present.
Spring elective, fourth semester.


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