Studying Ephemeral items as Cultural Artifacts

FIU’s Wolfsonian Museum blog explains a wonderful assignment where students will select an individual object from the Wolfsonian collections for a project. Over the course of the semester-long project, the students will analyze the purpose of the object, investigate its social context and message, identify the artist and the artist’s aim in creating the piece, pair the historical artifact with a contemporary variant that shares a similar function in today’s society, and to explore the implications of social and technological change over time. This is a great assignment because students will learn about the specifics of their projects as well as about the Wolfsonian’s collections and methods for approaching and undertaking research on ephemeral and museum materials. The assignment teaches specific information, builds critical skills, and teaches about resources. Plus, the assignment could easily be used for objects in physical or digital collections.