Exploring San Francisco's Museums

Sharon Gmelch

ANTH 195
Core E

Course Description:

In this course we will explore some of San Francisco’s diverse museums-- including the De Young Museum, Exploratorium, the California Academy of Science, and the Asian Art Museum--and while doing so, learn about the role museums play in society. We’ll also be reading and talking about the issues museum professionals face when they present cultural, historical, and scientific materials to the public, everything from largely practical issues like designing effective educational programs and exhibits to ethical concerns like intellectual property rights and the politics of representation. We will also be taking a guided walking tour through one of San Francisco’s historic neighborhoods and visiting one or two unique forms of “museum.”

Classes will meet Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:55-11:40, except on our fieldtrip days when we will use the Thursday 2:40-4:25 time slot instead.

Faculty Bio:

Sharon Gmelch is a cultural anthropologist who has lived with and conducted research with Irish Travellers (similar to gypsies). She is currently doing a cross-cultural study of tour guides. Over the years, she has taken students on semester-long programs to Barbados, Ireland, Australia, Vietnam, Japan, and Tanzania. She currently teaches Culture through Film, Women’s Lives across Cultures, and The Environment, Culture, and Tourism (in Alaska). She and her husband George, also a USF anthropologist, have a rescue cat named Smudge and a dozen unnamed chickens.