Every other year I teach a class, Museums, Exhibitions and Representation, which examines museums and display as socio-cultural phenomena. The course reviews a great deal of history and theory, and from the first time I taught it students were assigned a final project which would simulate an exhibit design process–a way to bring theory to bear on practice.
On alternate years one of my colleagues, Brian Hoffman, teaches a historical archaeology class that has a large excavation component. The class teaches students lab techniques–and from the first time he taught that class he has had students do final projects that deal with communicating the results of their digs.
Two years ago we had the idea of bringing the classes together in such a way that my students would work at designing an exhibit for the stuff his class excavates. It worked really well the first time around, this year it was even better! We hope in the not-too-distant-future to work out a third class that would actually build the exhibit. It has been an exciting collaboration that students have really enjoyed.
This year one of professor Hoffman’s students produced a video of our collaboration. It is quite well done.