Jordan College of the Arts
Art Program

ART314, Museum as Theatre: This course considers aesthetic and theoretical issues that cross the boundaries between performance art ("the black box") and museum exhibition spaces ("the white box"). It is expressly designed to explore the relationship between the history, criticism and theory associated with curatorial theory and performance art.


The course is discussion and activity-based and incorporates historical study, direct experience, critical analysis and research at the Indianapolis Museum of Art and other local institutions.

Specific dramatic museum practices explored include:

  • Live interpretation
  • First-person (character) interpretation
  • Third-person interpretation
  • Living history & re-enactments
  • Role play & storytelling

Media/Technology skills:

  • Students can work in the medium or media of their choice (course is adaptable for individual career focus).
  • Powerpoint/Keynote or Prezi is used to present work. 
  • Google Drive is used as a collaborative tool
  • Because students can choose their media, Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Blender, iMovie, Adobe Premiere are options.

Key Student Learning Outcomes:

By the end of this course students will:

  • Demonstrate awareness of the scope and variety of ways that museums are performative spaces.
  • Understand the role of museum collections and interpretations of those collections in performative ways as expressions of individual and human values within an historical and social context.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the criticism and theory related to the ability of museums, museum curators and museum performers to shape intercultural experiences.
  • Develop an appreciation for the aesthetic principles that guide or govern museum display, and performances in museum spaces.
  • Perform evaluative analyses of museum displays and performative acts that take place in museums within their social and historical contexts.
  • To participate actively in the performative space of the museum through on-site activities.