Center for Material Culture Studies (CMCS) Working Group
The ways in which people interact with the objects in their daily lives forms the basis of the study of material culture. The mission of the Center for Material Culture Studies (CMCS) at the Ohio State University focuses on the interdisciplinary study of human mediated objects and the breadth of their cultural meanings. The center will provide a forum for inquiry and research centered on material culture. It also will foster the creation of new knowledge by increasing the visibility, accessibility, and use of the diverse collections held across the university whose current lack of integration constrains their use in research. The Working Group for the Center for Material Culture Studies will advance the planning and activities of the center in preparation for its formal introduction to the university and the community at large.
The CMCS is by design meant to serve as a contextual bridge across existing academic units. It is not meant to replace or replicate an existing unit; rather it seeks to enrich the university and to foster use of university collections through interdisciplinary research and intellectual discourse. The CMCS will:
· Serve as an umbrella organization to link OSU collections such as the Theatre Research Institute and the Historic Costume & Textiles Collection with areas of expertise of university faculty and professional staff.
· Increase accessibility of the collections to the faculty, professional staff and students of the university as well as to the larger community of allied organizations.
· Develop partnerships locally, nationally, and globally, including with museums, historical societies as well as professional organizations.
· Plan thematic exhibitions and hosting symposia focused on emerging issues in material culture research e.g. learning from objects, cultural literacy
· Offer a new way to link academic coursework in an interdisciplinary framework leading to an undergraduate minor and interconnected Master’s and Phd programs.
Deborah Smith-Shank (Art Education) and Clayton Funk (Art Education)