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College of Professional and Global Education · School of Information

Seminar in Archives and Records Management - Curating Exhibitions from Archival Collections
INFO 284

  • Fall 2023
  • Sections 01, 11
  • 2 Unit(s)
  • 08/21/2023 to 10/15/2023
  • Modified 06/30/2023

Canvas Information

This course will be available on Canvas beginning August 21st, 6 am PT.

You will be enrolled in the Canvas site automatically. This 2-unit course runs from August 21st to October 15th.

Contact Information

Leigh Gleason
Office Location: Fairfax, VA
Office Hours: By appointment.

Course Description and Requisites

This course takes students through the process of creating an exhibition based on materials in a single archival repository. All work is independent and places strong emphasis on discussion (where peer feedback/interaction is part of the discussion grade). Student will select an exhibition topic based on their own interests, craft an exhibition proposal, and devise an exhibition consisting of approximately 20-30 items and accompanying texts.


INFO 200, INFO 202, INFO 204, other prerequisites may be added depending on content.

Classroom Protocols


Students are expected to participate fully in all class activities. It is expected that students will be open-minded and participate fully in discussions in class and debate in a mature and respectful manner. Use of derogatory, condescending, or offensive language including profanity is prohibited. Disagreement is healthy and perfectly acceptable. Expressing disagreement should always include an explanation of your reasoning and, whenever possible, evidence to support your position. In accordance with San José State University's Policies, the Student Code of Conduct, and applicable state and federal laws, discrimination based on gender, gender identity, gender expression, race, nationality, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or disability is prohibited in any form.

Program Information

Course Workload

Success in this course is based on the expectation that students will spend, for each unit of credit, a minimum of forty-five hours over the length of the course (normally 3 hours per unit per week with 1 of the hours used for lecture) for instruction or preparation/studying or course related activities including but not limited to internships, labs, clinical practica. Other course structures will have equivalent workload expectations as described in the syllabus.

Instructional time may include but is not limited to:
Working on posted modules or lessons prepared by the instructor; discussion forum interactions with the instructor and/or other students; making presentations and getting feedback from the instructor; attending office hours or other synchronous sessions with the instructor.

Student time outside of class:
In any seven-day period, a student is expected to be academically engaged through submitting an academic assignment; taking an exam or an interactive tutorial, or computer-assisted instruction; building websites, blogs, databases, social media presentations; attending a study group; contributing to an academic online discussion; writing papers; reading articles; conducting research; engaging in small group work.

Course Goals

Core Competencies (Program Learning Outcomes) Supported

INFO 284 supports the following core competencies:

  1. D Apply the fundamental principles of planning, management, marketing, and advocacy.
  2. F Use the basic concepts and principles related to the selection, evaluation, organization, and preservation of physical and digital information items.
  3. J Describe the fundamental concepts of information-seeking behaviors and how they should be considered when connecting individuals or groups with accurate, relevant and appropriate information.

Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs)

Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  1. Propose an exhibition drawn from archival materials.
  2. Develop an exhibition checklist and devise object layouts for exhibition.
  3. Conceptualize didactic texts appropriate for exhibition audiences.

Course Materials


Required Textbooks:

  • Lacher-Feldman, J. L. (2013). Exhibits in archives and special collections libraries. Society of American Archivists. Available through SAA.

Course Requirements and Assignments

There are two assignments in this course and a heavy emphasis on weekly discussion:

  • Weekly discussions: prepare a substantial weekly post and meaningful responses to peers. Discussions will address topics covered in readings/lectures and be driven toward the development of individuals' curatorial projects. Fulfills CLO #1#2, and #3.
  • Exhibition proposal: describe the content, concept, and vision of the proposed curatorial project, including budget and timeline. Fulfills CLO #1.
  • Curatorial project: curated selection of 20-30 items, accompanying main text, tombstones, and any extra didactics and extended object labels. May be presented as a Word doc or website or utilize resources including SketchUp/3D modeling, Omeka, or HistoryPin. Fulfills CLO #1#2, and #3.

Students will also be expected to complete weekly reading assignments from the course textbook, as well as articles and sources linked from the Canvas course site.

Assignments will be due by 9 pm (Pacific) on the date indicated on the course calendar and must be submitted via Canvas. Discussions are due on the Sunday of the week listed.

Grading will be based on a total of 100 points, distributed as follows:

Assignment Point Value
Weekly Canvas discussions 40
Exhibition proposal 20
Curatorial project 40

A full rubric will be provided in Canvas to describe the expectations for each assignment.

One point will be deducted for every day that an assignment is late. Late work without penalty is only accepted with the prior consent of the instructor. All course materials must be completed by the last day of class.
Because discussion posts exist to foster a seminar-like dialog between colleagues, late discussion posts will not receive credit.

Incomplete grades cannot be granted unless the iSchool administration has provided written authorization.

Grading Information

The standard SJSU School of Information Grading Scale is utilized for all iSchool courses:

97 to 100A
94 to 96A minus
91 to 93B plus
88 to 90B
85 to 87B minus
82 to 84C plus
79 to 81C
76 to 78C minus
73 to 75D plus
70 to 72D
67 to 69D minus
Below 67F

In order to provide consistent guidelines for assessment for graduate level work in the School, these terms are applied to letter grades:

  • C represents Adequate work; a grade of "C" counts for credit for the course;
  • B represents Good work; a grade of "B" clearly meets the standards for graduate or undergraduate (for BS-ISDA) level work;
    For core courses in the MLIS program (not MARA, Informatics, or BS-ISDA) — INFO 200, INFO 202, INFO 204 — the iSchool requires that students earn a B in the course. If the grade is less than B (B- or lower) after the first attempt you will be placed on administrative probation. You must repeat the class if you wish to stay in the program. If - on the second attempt - you do not pass the class with a grade of B or better (not B- but B) you will be disqualified.
  • A represents Exceptional work; a grade of "A" will be assigned for outstanding work only.

Graduate Students are advised that it is their responsibility to maintain a 3.0 Grade Point Average (GPA). Undergraduates must maintain a 2.0 Grade Point Average (GPA).

University Policies

Per University Policy S16-9 (PDF), relevant university policy concerning all courses, such as student responsibilities, academic integrity, accommodations, dropping and adding, consent for recording of class, etc. and available student services (e.g. learning assistance, counseling, and other resources) are listed on the Syllabus Information web page. Make sure to visit this page to review and be aware of these university policies and resources.

Course Schedule

1 8/21 - 8/27 Introduction to course/introduction to exhibitions  Discussion #1: Exhibition critique [NB: this will not require any in-person visits]
2 8/28 - 9/3 Early exhibition planning Discussion #2: Propose two exhibition topic ideas to class, give feedback to classmates' proposals
3 9/4 - 9/10 Exhibition script development

Discussion #3: Share the exhibition proposal with the class; give feedback to others

Exhibition proposal due 9/10

4 9/11 - 9/17 Object selection Discussion #4: Describe 1-2 key objects that are essential to your exhibition and why 
5 9/18 - 9/24

Writing for exhibitions

Discussion #5: Compose an extended didactic text about key exhibition object 

6 9/25 - 10/1 Challenging curatorial topics Discussion #6: Share an example of an exhibition or type of exhibition that could be challenging or controversial, and describe how these topics can best be approached 
7 10/2 - 10/8 Marketing and outreach for exhibitions Discussion #7: Share short promotional text, tweet, and title image; give feedback to classmates' posts 
8 10/9 - 10/15 Loans, traveling exhibitions, and other ambitious endeavors

Discussion #8: Hindsight/self-critique, with accompanying show-and-tell

Curatorial project due 10/15

Subject to change with fair notice.