The Museum Inside Out

Spring 2012

Caroline Bruzelius, Mark Olson

Elizabeth Baltes and Alexandra Dodson, TAs


Medieval sculpture often “floats” on white walls of museums with no suggestion of the richness of its historical context. The goal of this course was to explore the possibilities afforded by new media to inflect the presentation, mediation, and reconstruction of the original context for a work of art.

Using the collection of Medieval Sculpture in the Nasher Museum of Art as our laboratory, we reflected on how digital tools — laser scanning, photogrammetry, geo-mapping and restorative 2D/3D digital modeling — can offer non-invasive meditations on objects to assist visitors in their understanding of an object, its original setting, its history, its materiality. In other words, we aimed to trace what Appadurai calls “the social life of things.” Finally, against the uncritical embrace of new technology, we have been particularly interested in reflexive critical work on our own practices of visualization.

The course projects are multi-semester interventions with the goal of presenting student-designed digital models for the future exhibition of the Brummer collection, including an emphasis on the Brummer brothers as agents and dealers in the art market at the beginning of the twentieth century.