Exploring Africa

Objects speak volumes about place and time. In the art history course “Exhibiting Africa: Past and Present,” taught by Assistant Professor of Museum Studies Leah Niederstadt, students are listening and learning about the African continent. They are examining the ways in which African cultural objects have been collected, displayed and interpreted by museums and museum-like institutions. As part of that exploration, students this week had the opportunity to view more than 230 African objects from Wheaton’s Permanent Collection. Standing around a table in Watson 145 (the Collection Study Room), the students listened intently as Niederstadt picked up objects and discussed each one—from masks to fragments of alabaster vessels that date back more than 1,000 years. Students will choose items that intrigue them, conduct research, write narrative text, and find images and/or videos related to their objects. With the assistance of Jenni Lund, special academic projects manager, the text and images will then be input into a publically accessible online story map that the class is collaboratively creating using ARCGIS Online, a cloud-based mapping platform.