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Provenance Learning and Storytelling Exhibit

Now on display, “Provenance Learning and Storytelling” showcases research and creative works completed by students enrolled in the Honors Seminar during Fall 2021, GN_HON 1050H, “Get Real, Go Places! Let Objects Take You There.” The eight-week course takes as its focus the study of material culture, specifically the opportunities for research that objects and artifacts make possible. Students are introduced to the practice of interpreting, inspecting, and writing about objects through regular use of a sketchbook journal and weekly syntheses shared with classmates. The course is taught by Dr. Sarah Buchanan of the iSchool at the University of Missouri (in the College of Education and Human Development) and by gallery, library, archive, and museum professionals based on the Mizzou campus who belong to the Material Culture Studies Group, established in 2014.


Emphasis on learning about provenance – “the origin of an item and the history behind it,” or “where an object comes from and how it got to be where it is today” in the students’ words – generated a range of creative, colorful expressions informed by the available expertise. Our student showcase features 30 art objects created by 11 undergraduate students, each based on the class visit to a particular collection on the Columbia campus. Students created weekly syntheses reflecting on their visit and a culminating analysis of specific objects appealing to students’ future academic interests.

On display here are clay figures of the campus’s elephant ear plant (colocasia esculenta) and a trio of resident frogs, three oil pastels of the Lambach (Austria) Abbey grammar book’s provenance stamps in Special Collections and Archives, a poem questioning “what information?” after the Museum of Anthropology, “Sundial: an artist’s book,” watercolor paintings of a cardinal bird and the “Ghost Dancing” 1975 van, seed pod and plaster cast sketches, a Bicentennial collage inspired by the 1921 Missouri Centennial Poster at the SHSMO, and a painted clay figure of Akua’ba (Asante) inspired by the Museum of Art and Archaeology, among other reflections on storytelling as accompaniment. For their contributions to the success of the course we gratefully thank: Catherine Armbrust, Jessica Boldt, Buck’s Ice Cream, Cathy Callaway, Connor Frew for THE RISO ROOM, Kelli Hansen, Rachel Harper, Amanda Staley Harrison, Nicole Johnston, Maggie Mayhan, artist Nick Peña, Joe Pintz, Jennifer Roohparvar-Brumfield, Jenna Rozum, Candace Sall, Karlan Seville and Joan Stack.

The course will next be offered in Fall 2022 – join us!