Describe your impression and evaluation of the museum/site’s overall goal /historic site paper…

Describe your impression and evaluation of the museum/site’s overall goal

/historic site paper assignment

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Instructions for paper

Visit one of four and museums as listed below (or get permission from Prof. Klimchock via email to visit another local site). Spend at least an hour or hour and a half at the site and take notes so that you can describe with accuracy various elements of the overall location as well as several specific objects, rooms or elements of it. (Keep in mind some sites may only allow note-taking in pencil rather than pen. Or consider using a tablet or audio taping your notes. Confer with the site’s staff as to their rules). Read the whole paper instruction sheet before visiting the site so you know what to look for and take note of.

The four potential sites to visit are below. Choose one. Information listed below is subject to change, so go to the site’s website or call to confirm their days and hours of operation and the fee, if any. Driving time is an estimate. All sites can also be accessible by bus but it takes much longer to get there. Bring your student ID for the student rates. I suggest you glance at all the websites to see which one interests you most before choosing one.

African American Museum, Dallas

3536 Grand Avenue

Dallas, Texas 75210

(23 minute drive)

Admission: Free (except special exhibitions)

Closed Sundays and Mondays

Dallas Museum of Art

1717 N Harwood St

Dallas, TX 75201

(20 minute drive)

Closed Mondays

Student admission: Free for main collection ($12 for special collection)

Note: If attending this museum, focus on some aspect of North American or African art and culture (from any period)

Heritage Farmstead Museum

1900 West 15th Street

Plano, Texas 75075

(7 minute drive)

Closed Mondays

Student Admission: $3 for site, $5 for tour (either one is acceptable)

Old Red Museum of Dallas County and Culture

(22 minute drive)

Student admission: $8

Open daily

Writing instructions:

Write a narrative description of your experience at the historic site by choosing to answer three of the following four questions. Do not answer them separately under numbers, but rather weave your answers into a coherent narrative paper. You should have an introductory paragraph that describes where you went and its overview (what it is, when it was built if relevant, what is significant about it or what it houses and why it matters historically and/or to the local community). Do not just state facts as presented on the site’s website. (Any lifting directly from a website is considered plagiarism and will garner an F grade.) Paint a picture of the place you visited for the reader, situating them in the history of the site or its themes.

Try to have an overarching theme or claim that your paper will then tie together in the concluding paragraph. The body of the paper should answer some aspect of three out of the four questions (but in any order). Think about how the paper flows and use transitions from one paragraph to the next rather than just answering the questions one after the other. The paper should read like a review article of an exhibit or museum found in a newspaper or magazine. A strong paper will utilize correct grammar, have no typos, exhibit strong word choice by not repeating words much and be specific in description, as well as limit the use of passive voice.

Three of the following four questions must be answered:

Describe your impression and evaluation of the museum/site’s overall goal. What experience is it trying to provide for its visitors and how is it aiming to accomplish that through the senses (sight, sound, touch)? What do you think are its values and aims? How successful is it in achieving those? Give specific examples from the site and/or its objects in your evaluation.

Describe one specific object or aspect of the museum/site in detail that relates to U.S. history, what it signifies, what you found illuminating about it, and what you learned from it. Describe it in visual terms and also its use or importance and any relevant historical background.

Are there ways the museum or historic site surprised you? Were there aspects of presentation or exhibition that you thought could have been improved upon and if so how? Or did you find the presentation, layout, exhibition effective in its presentation of history and culture and if so how was it effective? Give specific details of the site in your explanation, potentially including descriptions of objects or themed exhibits.

In what ways is visiting a museum/historic site different from reading about history and culture? What value is there in physically interacting with history/culture? Describe some specific elements of your museum/historic site visit that relate to this, such as interactive exhibits, tours, or other aspects of the architectural, archeological or aesthetic experience. Paint a picture of what and how you experienced it, including any feelings, questions or ideas it sparked for you.

The title of your paper should be creative and should not simply repeat the name of the assignment or the location visited. It should indicate some unique aspect of your visit and/or your assessment of it.

Formatting: The top of the paper should include a heading with your name, course title, date, names of professor and T.A. single spaced and left or right aligned. Then a space, then your title in the center. Then the paper begins in paragraph form for the full 3 pages, double spaced, 12 point font, 1 inch margins.

Grade range guidelines:

An “A” paper will include all the elements stated above, give answers to three of the four questions, be exceptionally well written and organized, and will have a unique critical or analytical stance on the place visited. It will also utilize an array of very specific details from the visit. The writing will be excellent, even beautiful, and a pleasure to read with a varied vocabulary, limited use of the passive voice, and attention to detail. It will have a creative title.

A “B” range paper will answer all of the questions competently with correct grammar and very few typos and will have an introduction and conclusion. Some lack of nuance or lack of a unique idea about the site may keep it from the A range. B papers are competent and high quality but may not be elegantly written or may include some stilted language or only moderate detail, but still enough detail that paints a picture of the site visited.

“C” papers do an adequate job of answering the three questions but may have a cursory quality to the introduction and conclusion and overly simple language with only some detail about the site and its objects and mission. C papers may contain some improper grammar and/or more than a few typos. C papers may lack clear detail indicating that the person spent enough time perusing the site and looking closely at several objects and elements of the overall location. C papers may use too many simple, short sentences to the point where complexity, nuance and deep critical thinking are not in evidence. C papers complete all elements of the assignment.

“D” papers lack some elements of the assignment or may only answer two of the four questions. Lacking an introduction or conclusion or enough convincing detail that the author visited the site could land a paper in the D or F range. Major errors, sloppy formatting and overly simplistic or confusing writing may also be evident.

“F” papers have not adequately completed the assignment, may have only answered one question, contain incoherent sentence structure, and may lack any evidence that the student completed the basics. F papers are ones that may appear as if the student only read the website for the site and did not actually visit. Any plagiarism whatsoever (lifting text directly from the internet or any other source) will garner an F and may require reporting.



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