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Ford Center for the Fine Arts

Museum Studies Students Curate Show at Galesburg Community Art Center

Students studying Museum Studies 130: Introduction to Art Museum Studies, led by Professor of Art Gregory Gilbert, curated their own show at the Galesburg Community Art Center on April 19, 2024. Titled “Picturing Local History: Selections from the Galesburg Community Arts Center Permanent Collection,” this year’s exhibit showcased local artists in Galesburg, allowing students to explore the art culture of the town. 

Teaching Assistant Isabelle Etheridge ’24 was chosen to lead this year’s team of students in setting up the show. As a minor in museum studies, she had already completed several of Gilbert’s classes, gaining experience with exhibit planning and management. She felt that this exhibit allowed for realistic and professional collaboration, including large-scale promotion and communication outside of the College.

“Getting to look at the pieces hands-on, be down in the archives, and really connect with Galesburg was cool, because while there is a big art culture at Knox, seeing how much art history is in Galesburg is awesome,” Etheridge said. 

Knox students at Lombard Middle School

Megan Bogner ’25 enrolled in the class to fully understand the scope of the work done in a museum, learning the theoretical aspects of curating an exhibit, such as conducting research and writing didactics to provide viewers with information about the art pieces. For this project, she was part of a smaller group in charge of physically assembling the exhibit. “I was helping pick the order of the pieces, bringing up pedestals, and handling the statues—dusting them off and learning how to hang paintings properly. A lot of that applies to no matter what kind of museum I end up in,” Bogner said. 

Gilbert helped design the art museum studies minor in 2020 after recognizing the growing job market within the field. “Essentially, I'm training students in just some kind of museology—the different philosophies and missions of museums,” he said. 

He enjoys the independence the program brings to the students, providing them with hands-on learning opportunities, connecting them with internships, and getting their foot in the door for careers in museums. He is looking to grow the program in future years to support this vision.

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Printed on Sunday, June 16, 2024