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Museum and the Public Sphere

"The Museum and the Public Sphere" is a course collaboration with City and Regional Planning in the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning. The course was designed and cotaught by Michael Tomlan, Professor and Director of the Historic Preservation Program, and Cathy Rosa Klimaszewski, Associate Director and Ames Curator of Education at the Johnson Museum.

During the Spring 2013 semester, the class visited and spoke with the directors and staff members of the Johnson Museum, Sciencecenter in Ithaca, Cornell Plantations, and the Oneida Community Mansion House, a history museum that was the home of a nineteenth-century utopian Perfectionist community founded by John Humphrey Noyes in 1848. A radical social experiment, the Oneida Community practiced Communalism (common property and possessions), complex (or “shared”) marriage, male continence as a form of birth control, and mutual criticism. At its peak the Community housed over three hundred people on the site.

You may be familiar with the Oneida Community if you’ve ever used Oneida silverware, one of their products. It was among the most successful of the utopian communities that sprang up in the nineteenth century, lasting in its original form until it disbanded in 1880. The Mansion House was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1965.

For their final project, the students studied the history, collections, programs, and administrative structure of the museum and developed an institutional plan for the organization. The class, composed of five graduate students and eight undergraduates from a variety of disciplines, presented their papers in the Main Hall of the Mansion House, the same room used by the Community members over a century ago.

Spring 2013 Museum and the Public Sphere

Erica Alonzo
Anisha Arabolu
Jeisson Apolo Armas
Tillie Baker
Qing Cheng
Allan Delesantro
Sangni Gao
Emily Giacomarra
Susie Kang
Swapna Kothari
Jessica Lychalk
Gabriel Salvatierra
Anna Walling
Ran Yan