The Johnson Museum provides a wealth of staff expertise and unique spaces to support teaching with original works of art. Museum curators and educators collaborate with faculty to place students in firsthand conversations with objects. Each academic year, hundreds of classes from across the disciplines take advantage of the unique resources and learning opportunities offered by the Museum.

Explore the work of recent courses and projects in this section and contact Alison Rittershaus for more information.

Connecting Research with Practice

A four-year initiative, “Connecting Research with Practice,” generously funded in 2013 by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, supported the development of semester-long courses that modeled innovative, object-centered teaching and research. Courses engaged a wide range of faculty and students while drawing on curricular areas and campus resources that are particularly strong and often unique to Cornell.

From Excavation to Exhibition: The Trajectory of Objects Between Site and Public (Fall 2013)
Constructing New Narratives: Curatorial Practice Today (Spring 2014)
Working Hot: Art Beyond Representation (Fall 2014)
Art | Science Intersections: More than Meets the Eye (Spring 2015)
Watermark Identification in Rembrandt's Etchings (Spring 2016)
Zen Buddhism: Aesthetic Cultivation of Self (Spring 2016)
Embodying the Object: Writing with the Collection (Spring 2016)
Empathy Academy: Social Practice and the Problem of Objects (Spring 2017)
Race, Gender, & Crossing Water: Narratives of Mobility & Escape in the 19th-century US (Fall 2017)
Heritage and Its Entanglements: Representing, Collecting, & Preserving Cultural Identity (Fall 2017)

History of Art Majors' Society

The History of Art Majors’ Society (HAMS) was a student group that worked with the Museum on projects beyond the classroom.

The Museum and the Object

This introduction to object-based research examines best practices in the areas of collections care, connoisseurship, interpretation and display, and preservation. Topics include methods of attribution, fakes and forgeries, technique and media, restoration and conservation, art education, and theories of perception. When offered, "The Museum and the Object" is taught by a faculty member in the Department of the History of Art and Visual Studies and Museum curators.

The Museum and the Public Sphere

Through site visits and a broad curricular program, this course evaluates different types of museums and their evolving missions. Topics include the nature of collections and of the audience; political and cultural questions about collecting, history, and interpretation; and the core ethical and intellectual positions held by museums. A semester-long team planning project for a regional museum is presented to the client. "The Museum and the Public Sphere" is offered every other year and taught with faculty in Historic Preservation and City and Regional Planning.