Lesson 3: Considering the Cultural Context of Artwork

Museum workers make important decisions about their art purchases and the ways in which these works are displayed. This lesson explores issues revolving around what and how a traditional work is presented and viewed by visitors to museums.


Suppose you are a curator for a museum in your hometown. You purchase one of the necklaces worn in the Shilong dances for display in your museum. Do you purchase one that is traditional, like most of the others so that it clearly represents the tradition? Or do you purchase the very best necklace you can find that is more elaborate and beautiful than all the rest? What guides your decision and what is the message you communicate to museumgoers by your choice? How do you display the work? Create a model or drawing that shows how you will display the necklace and write the text panel for the piece. Post your model or drawing along with the text panel.

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