Dr. Barbara Rothermel, Lynchburg College museum studies professor and director of the Daura Gallery, recently presented research at the 15th annual University Museum and Collections Conference of the International Council of Museums.
Dr. Rothermel presented “A Formidable Forum: University Museums Embrace Controversy,” a talk that examined the way a college art exhibition can motivate thought, debate, critique, and conversation about difficult subjects.
“The goal is not to be the arbiter of social change or to tell the viewer what to think,” she wrote in her presentation text. “Instead, university museums today have the opportunity to broaden the discourse through which the baggage of preconceptions and biases can be dispelled, and new, enlightened attitudes engendered within a social and cultural complex.”
She used several student-curated exhibitions as examples, including a 2011 exhibition about the Allied victory in World War II, which sparked a debate about recognition of Josef Stalin for his contributions to the victory.
The conference was held May 11 – 14 at the University of Santo Tomas in the Philippines.