The Penn Museum provides support for instructors to craft curriculum around the Museum’s holdings. (Working with objects, individually or in groups?) Object-Based Learning, combined with Project-Based Learning fosters critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity.

Curatorial Seminars engage students by inspiring them to conduct original academic research and create exhibitions that tell their own stories through Museum artifacts and archival documents. Utilizing the Penn Museum’s resources of nearly 1 million cultural artifacts; 125 years’ worth of archival documents, including over 700,000 images; and a staff of international experts, we can help your students immerse themselves in their subject matter in new ways. Students can be taught to clarify and focus their thoughts and ideas through the application of professional museum standards to the process of exhibition creation and design. Students become content experts while learning to develop and clearly present ideas to an audience, while working within a group dynamic.

“The curatorial seminar gave me the unique opportunity to know an art piece on a truly personal level. My research experience was enhanced by my knowledge that it had practical value: any information I gained would contribute to the exhibit.”

Whitney Kite, Class of 2014

Curatorial Seminars offer students a unique, in-depth experience, working with material cultural and archival documents. The Academic Engagement Department is happy to work with you to develop an exhibition timeline that works with your curricular goals.

To help enable students with their projects, the Museum provides training in object handling; archival research; object conservation; exhibition design; label writing; museum ethics; and other topics in museology.

To discuss a curatorial seminar with one of our staff, please email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .   Preliminary inquiries should be made at least 4 months prior to the start of the semester.

Curatorial Seminars are designed to address a number of competencies:

Evidence-based learning Archival Research
Working collaboratively Copyright & Fair Use
Expressing ideas effectively Citation use
Taking and applying constructive criticism Aesthetics of Presentation
Thinking in a non-routine fashion Metadata and data migration
Communicating on Multiple platforms Writing to an Audience
Close observation Making your work public
Artifact Handling Importance of Curation
Asking Questions of Material Culture

Curatorial Seminars with Student Curated Online Exhibitions

Past Curatorial Seminars


Academic Engagement Department

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