NB: We meet Friday, February 7

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The Culture of Archives, Museums, and Libraries (Lant, Spring 2014)

Professor Antonia Lant

CINE-GT 3049.1: The Culture of Archives, Museums, and Libraries (4 points)
Class meets in 721 Broadway, Room 635, Wednesdays, 12:30-4:30 pm

NB: We meet Friday, February 7th, 12.30-4.30 pm, at Museum of Moving Image. There will also be up to two more non-Wednesday meetings of the class in the second half of the semester, exact dates and times TBA.

  • Lant office hours: 721 Broadway, Rm. 627, Tues, 3:00am to 5:00 pm Tel: 8-1612, antonia.lant@nyu.edu

  • Or by appointment

Course Description:

This course studies the different kinds of institutions that collect and manage moving image and other cultural material: museums of art, natural history, and motion pictures; libraries, archives, and historical societies; corporate institutions. It compares and contrasts these types of institution to reveal how they differ from one another. It looks, for example, at how different types of institution may handle similar material in significantly different ways (from what they acquire, to how they describe it, to how they display or preserve it). In addition, the course examines theories of collecting, the history of certain cultural heritage institutions, and the organizational structures of institutions that house collections (including trends in staffing and the roles of individual departments), and their respective missions and operational ethics. The class will visit a variety of local cultural organizations, and working professionals will visit the class to talk about their organizations and duties. The course is required for students in the MA Program in Moving Image Archiving and Preservation, and welcomes students from other Programs.

Student requirements:

--a brief presentation on a collector OR develop one or more of the initiatives related to National Preservation Week (27 April- 3 May, 2014) or National Libraries Week (April 13-19, 2014); OR report on Museum Advocacy Day February 24-25, 2014) (5%).

--an observational study of two cultural institutions for an approx. 7 minute, in-class presentation (20%);

--a brief report on a foundation or other specific funding body OR a report on a recent use of the idea of the archive in humanities scholarship (5%).

--a term project on a subject you negotiate with Prof. Lant, to be presented in class at the end of the semester as an oral presentation, and written up (35%). Due date for written version is noon, 7 May 2014. Place hard copy in Prof. Lant’s mailbox.

--At least 4 times during the semester you must bring in to class a current news article related to cultural institutions, and orally explain this to the rest of the class. Topics might include private collectors, contested objects, hirings/firings, cultural institution expansions, etc. You should aim to present 2 of these before midterm, and the other 2 by the end of the semester (5%). Please circulate your current news article to the class via NYU Classes Discussion Board, by the Monday evening before you are due to present.

--class attendance, keeping up with the readings, presenting readings, participation in class discussion, including during field trips (25%).

--contribute at least 2 observations to the discussion board on NYU Classes within the 2 weeks following the fieldtrip to MMI and AMNH (at least 1 of these within the first week after the trip). MIAP students will also need to report back from their early March visit to the National Audiovisual Conservation Center in Culpeper. (5%).

No incompletes are accepted for this class.
NB: The readings and topics on this syllabus may change, or be added to, during the semester. Students are responsible for following such changes. In addition, due to variations in the lengths of discussion, questions, and visual materials, we may not find time to discuss all the readings listed in the syllabus. However, they are important and their content supports the class assignments.
Readings: Selected readings will be posted on NYU Classes. Articles from 2003 on from The Moving Image are available in electronic form through Project Muse (enter via NYU Libraries from NYU Home http://library.nyu.edu/collections/ejournals.html). Electronic versions of other journals may be available there as well. Most of the main text listed below are on reserve at Bobst Library.
Required Texts

  1. John Elsner and Roger Cardinal, The Cultures of Collecting (Reaktion/ University of Chicago Press, 1994) (on sale at NYU Bookcenters)

  2. Penelope Houston, Keepers of the Frame: the Film Archives (British Film Institute: London, 1994) Out of print.

  1. Hugh H. Genoways, ed. Museum Philosophy for the Twenty-First Century (Altamira: NY, 2006). (on sale at NYUBookcenters)

Recommended Texts

  1. Pearce, Susan. Collecting in Contemporary Practice (London: Sage, 1998). (on sale at NYUBookcenters)

  2. Paolo Cherchi Usai, David Francis, Alexander Horwath, Michael Loebenstein (Eds.), Film Curatorship: Archives, Museums, and the Digital Marketplace (London: Wallflower Press, 2008). (A copy will be available in the Film Study Center)

  3. Film History 18:3 (2006), Special Issue on Film Museums (available online as an NYU Libraries resource—through NYU Home)

  4. McGreevey, Tom and Joanne L. Yeck. Our Movie Heritage (Rutgers University Press: New Brunswick, 1997). Out of print.

  5. Caroline Frick, Saving Cinema: The Politics of Preservation (Oxford University Press: Oxford, 2011). (on sale at NYUBookcenters)

  6. J. Hoberman, Film After Film (Verso, 2011)

  7. Roger Smither and Catherine A. Surowiec, eds This Film is Dangerous: A Celebration of Nitrate Film (FIAF: Brussels, 2002)


Plagiarism is the presentation of somebody else’s work as your own. This is a very serious fault, and against NYU rules, whether it is unintended (e.g. occurs through poor citations and confusion about how to reference somebody else’s scholarship), or derives from out and out copying (such as downloading essays from the internet). Plagiarism includes using portions of a previously published work in a paper without citing the source, submitting a paper written for another course, submitting a paper written by someone else, and using the ideas of someone else without attribution. Plagiarism is unacceptable in this class and is punished severely. Please ask for help, by email or in person, if you are unclear as to how to cite others’ work. Anybody who is caught plagiarizing will fail the course and be subject to disciplinary action through the university.

Class 1) Wednesday 29 January: Memory Organizations

  • Introductions

  • Comparative analysis of different types of institution.

  • What institutions collect moving images?

  • How varied are the histories of cultural institutions?

  • How do their histories shape what an institution collects, how they organize their collection, and how they provide access to it?

  • Hayao Miyazaki, This is the Kind of Museum I Want to Make, Museo d'Arte Ghibli (Tokuma Memorial Cultural Foundation for Animation: Ghibli Museum, Mitaka, 2008): 186-189. (http://www.ghibli-museum.jp/en/)

  • Bibliothèque Nationale de France


  • Alain Resnais, Toute la mémoire du monde (1956, 21 minutes, black and white, VHS)

Class 2) Wednesday 5 February: Guest Speaker: Michael Stoller, Director of Collections and Research Services, Bobst Library.

Organizational Structures of Institutions, Jobs and Duties. Ethics and Values, Importance of Professional Organizations

  • Western civilization has relied heavily on surviving written accounts to interpret the past. How has that affected how we see various groups that didn't have the capability to create written accounts, or to make sure that those accounts persist over time? Can we do more justice to those groups by studying artifacts rather than written accounts? Or to those who rely on oral traditions to tell their stories?

  • Museums and Libraries assert systematic organizations upon their works, and to some degree, all knowledge. What effects does this have outside the walls of these institutions? Are there both positive and negative effects?

Required Readings

FIAF code of ethics


  • ALA Code of Ethics (http://www.ala.org/ala/oif/statementspols/codeofethics/codeethics.htm)

  • SAA Code of Ethics for Archivists (http://www.archivists.org/governance/handbook/app_ethics.asp#code)

  • AIC Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice (American Institute for the Conservation of Artistic and Historic Works) (http://aic.stanford.edu/pubs/ethics.html)

  • AMIA Advocacy Task Force 13 November 2008 minutes| draft ethics guidelines (http://www.amianet.org/groups/committees/elections/2009/referendum.htm) as approved January 2010

  • Krug, Judith ((2002). "Censorship and Controversial Materials in Museums, Libraries, and Archives" in Lipinski, Tomas (ed.) Libraries, Museums, and Archives: Legal Issues and Ethical Challenges in the New Information Era, Lantham, MD: Scarecrow, pp 59-68

  • Diana Zorich, Gunter Waibel, Ricky Erway: "Beyond the Silos of the LAMs: Collaboration Among Libraries, Archives and Museums"

  • Libraries of the Future, JISC Documentary, 2009

  • Genoways, “To Members of the Museum Profession,” in Genoways, ed. Museum Philosophy for the Twenty-First Century: 221-234.

  • IMLS's "Museums, Libraries, and 21st Century Skills"
    Read all of the text; and skim through the Case Studies http://www.imls.gov/resources/resources.shtm

  • So You Want to Be an Archivist: An Overview of the Archives Profession

Scmiegel, “Professional Ethics,” in Buck and Gilmore, eds. The New Museum Registration Methods: 277-280.

Optional Reading

  • Rao, Nina, “Representation and Ethics in Moving Image Archives,” The Moving Image 10:2 (Fall 2010): 104-123.

  • Stephen E. Weil. "In Pursuit of a Profession: The Status of Museum Work in America." Rethinking the Museum. Washington: Smithsonian, 1990: p. 73-94.

Vikan, Gary, “A Dilemma? Old Collections—New Mission at the Walters Art Museum,” in Lord and Markert, eds. The Manual for Strategic Planning in Museums: 8-11.

  • Lipinski, Tomas A.. ((2002). "Legal Issues Involved in the Privacy Rights of Patrons in 'Public' Libraries and Archives" in Lipinski, Tomas (ed.) Libraries, Museums, and Archives: Legal Issues and Ethical Challenges in the New Information Era, Lantham, MD: Scarcrow, pp 95-112

  • Roma Harris. "In Pursuit of Status." Librarianship: The Erosion of a Women's Profession. Norwood: Ablex, 1992.

  • Jane Glaser, Artemis Zenetov. "Museum Professional Positions: Qualifications, Duties, and Responsibilities." Museums: A Place to Work, Planning Museum Careers." London: Routledge, 1996: 65-125.

  • Bruce A. Schuman (2001): "Issues for Libraries and Information Science in the Internet Age"
    Bruce A. Schuman (2001): "Issues for Libraries and Information Science in the Internet Age.": p. 77-114.

  • Internet Archive's WayBack Machine for finding old web pages

  • Open Archives Initiative Protocols for Metadata Harvesting

Class 3) 7 February, Friday: Site visit to Museum of the Moving Image

* We are due at the Museum of the Moving Image at 12:30 PM. The Museum’s entrance is located at 35th Avenue in Astoria, Queens. Use the R train to the Steinway subway stop in Queens. There is an R station opposite the Tisch School of the Arts. Allow at least 45 minutes travel time from the Tisch School of the Arts.


1) You must review the website of the Museum of the Moving Image before this trip.

< http://www.movingimage.us/>

2) Alison Trope. "Le Cinema Pour Le Cinema: Making a Museum of the Moving Image." The Moving Image. Volume 1, Number 1 (Spring 2001): 30-67.

3) Ann Wilson Lloyd. "If the Museum Itself is an Artwork, What About the Art Inside?." The New York Times (25 January 2004):

< http://www.nytimes.com/2004/01/25/arts/art-architecture-if-the-museum-itself-is-an-artwork-what-about-the-art-inside.html?scp=1&;sq=If%20the%20Museum%20Itself%20is%20an%20Artwork,%20What%20About%20the%20Art%20Inside&st=cse >

4) Sebastian Smee. "The Art of Renovation." The Boston Globe (12 September 2010):

< http://www.boston.com/ae/theater_arts/articles/2010/09/12/several_museums_will_soon_display_new_andor_enhanced_facilities/ >

1) Suzanne MacLeod, ed. Reshaping Museum Space: Architecture, Design, Exhibitions. New York: Routledge, 2005:

Lee H. Skolnick. “Chapter 9: Towards a New Museum Architecture: Narrative

and Representation.”

Peter Higgins. “Chapter 16: From Cathedral of Culture to Anchor Attractor.”

Stephen Greenberg. “Chapter 17: The Vital Museum.”

Stephen Bottomore, “Cinema Museums: A World-Wide List”

Class 4) Wednesday 12 February Theories of Collecting


  • Benjamin, “Unpacking My Library: A Talk about Book Collecting” [1931]

  • John Elsner and Roger Cardinal, The Cultures of Collecting (Harvard University Press: Cambridge, 1994), “Introduction,” pp 1-6

  • Baudrillard, “The System of Collecting” in John Elsner and Roger Cardinal, The Cultures of Collecting (Harvard University Press: Cambridge, 1994).

  • Pitsillides, Jeffries, and Conreen, “Museum of the Self and Digital Death.”

Optional readings:

  • Pearce, Susan M. "Collecting in Time" in On Collecting: An Investigation into collecting in the European tradition. (New York: Routledge, 1995): 235-254.

  • Nora, Pierre, “Between Memory and History,” Realms of Memory.

  • Pearce, “Collecting Culture,” in Collecting in Contemporary Culture, 1-21.

  • Cavell, Stanley. “The World as Things: Collecting Thoughts on Collecting”

NB: Wednesday 19 February: No class
Class 5) February 26, Wednesday, In-class presentations of user studies


.-- Dalrymple, P. W. (2001). A quarter century of user-centered study: The impact of Zweizig and Dervin on LIS research. Library and Information Science Research, 23 (2), 155-165 (library through NYU Home)

--Dervin, Brenda, Building Big User Studies out of Small Encounters: Making Every User Contact a Micro-User Study (http://communication.sbs.ohio-state.edu/sense-making/art/artabsdervin05ww.htm) (review Powerpoint slides)

--Falk, John H., “Pushing the Boundaries: Assessing the Long-term Impact of Museum Experiences,” in Current Trends in Audience Research and Evaluation (vol. II) (AAM Committee on Audience Research and Evaluation: LA, May 1998): 1-5.

--Korn, Randi, et. al. “Perceptions and Attitudes about Modern Art,” in Current Trends in Audience Research and Evaluation (vol. II) (AAM Committee on Audience Research and Evaluation: LA, May 1998): 36-42.

--Gyllenhaal, Eric. D. “Communicating Behind-the-Scenes Research to Museum Visitors: Evaluations of Temporary Exhibitions at the Field Museum,” in Current Trends in Audience Research and Evaluation (vol. II) (AAM Committee on Audience Research and Evaluation: LA, May 1998): 15-24.

--Korn, Randi, “Studying your Visitors: Where to Begin,” History News 49:2 (March/April 1994).

--Appendix (Professional Standards for the Practice of Visitor Research and Evaluation in Museums,” in C. G. Screven, ed. Visitor Studies Bibliography and Abstracts (American Association of Museums: Shorewood, WI, Third Edition, 1993): 172-174. --Samis, P. “The Exploded Museum”

Optional reading:

--Wakkary, et. al., “Situating the Sociability of Interactive Museum Guides,” in Giaccardi, ed., Heritage and Social Media: Understanding Heritage in a Participatory Culture (Routledge: NY, 2012): 217-238.

Class 6) Wednesday 5 March: No class. MIAP students on Culpeper Trip
Class 7) Wednesday, March 12, Histories of Moving Image Archiving


  • Boleslas Matuszewski, “A New Source of History [1898],” Film History 7:3 (1995): 322

  • Film History, 18:3 (2006) special issue on film museums, especially Laurent Mannoni, “Henri Langlois”, 274-87; Richard Kozarski, “The Lost Museum of Henri Langlois” pp. 288-94

  • Penelope Houston, Keepers of the Frame: 1-77.

  • Wasson, Haidee, “The Cinematic Subtext of the Modern Museum,” The Moving Image 1:1 (Spring 2001): 1-28.

  • Ernest Lindgren, “A National Film Library for Great Britain,” Sight and Sound 66-68.


  • Rotha, “A Museum for the Cinema” [1930]

  • Sargeant, “Wanted—A Museum” [1916]

  • Barry/Abbott, “An outline of a project for the founding of the Film Library of the Museum of Modern Art”

  • Barry, “Film Collecting at the Museum of Modern Art, 1935-1941.”

  • Goerke, “Proposal for Establishing an Archive for Moving Pictures” [1912]

  • Ernest Lindgren, “The Importance of Film Archives,” The Penguin Film Review 5 (Jan 1948)

  • Decherney, Peter, “Iris Barry, Hollywood Imperialism, and the Gender of the Nation,” in Hollywood and the Culture Elite: How the Movies Became American, 97-122.

  • Myrent/Langlois, Henri Langlois: First Citizen of Cinema, Ch.1-3.

  • Aurich, “Cinéaste, Collector, National Socialist,” Journal of Film Preservation 64 (4/2002): 16-21.

  • Bennett, Tony The Birth of the Museum Ch. 1 and pp. 92-95

Spring Break
Class 8) Wednesday 26 March: Site Visit to American Museum of Natural History
* Hosted by Barbara Mathé. We meet at the Museum at 12:30 pm. Take B or C local train to 81st Street. Do NOT enter through the subway entrance to the Museum. Instead, enter the Museum through the security entrance which can be reached via the semi-circular driveway under the grand staircase on Central Park West.


  1. Review the website for the American Museum of Natural History:

< http://www.amnh.org/ >

  1. James Clifford. “Chapter 10: On Collecting Art and Culture.” The Predicament of Culture: Twentieth Century Ethnography, Literature, and Art. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1988: p. 215 – 251.

  2. Jennifer Kramer, “Figurative Repatriation,” Journal of Material Culture (2004) 9(2): 161–182. http://www.firstnations.de/media/01-3-kramer.pdf

  3. Deocampo, Nick. “Zamboanga: ‘Lost’ Philippine-made film discovered in U.S. Archive,” Movement (Feb 2004): 2-7.

  4. Mares, “The Moral Obligations incumbent upon Institutions, Administrators, and Directors in Maintaining and Caring for Museum Collections,” in Genoways, ed. Museum Philosophy for the Twenty-First Century: 79-98.

Rec: Nicholas, The Rape of Europa, ch. III, V, XIII.

Myrent/Langlois, Henri Langlois: First Citizen of Cinema, Ch.4 “War and Occupation,” 62-89.

McKeown, Murphy, and Schansberg, “Complying with NAGPRA,” in Buck and Gilmore, eds. The New Museum Registration Methods: 311-319.

Elizabeth Simpson, “Introduction,” 12-16, Jeanette Greenfield, “The Spoils of War,” 34-38, “UNESCO Convention on Cultural Property, 1970,” 297-301, “A plea for the return of an irreplaceable Cultural Heritage, 1978,” 301-302, “The Unidroit Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects, 1995,” 308-311, all from Elizabeth Simpson, ed. The Spoils of War.

Bulane-Hopa, Seipati, “Repatriation: The Return of Indigenous Cultural Content,” Journal of Film Preservation 85 (10/2011): 4-13.
Second half of syllabus to be supplied shortly.

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