FOUNDATIONS OF THE PROFESSION
LIS 271 - Advanced Topics in Public History: Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums
Dr. Kristin M. Szylvian
LIS 271: Advanced Topics in Public History: Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums, or History of GLAM, was an introduction to the historical and philosophical development of these diverse yet related cultural heritage institutions in American Society. Through course readings and in-class discussions, this course allowed us to see how the GLAM movement seeks to help galleries, libraries, archives, and museums develop compatible methods for the electronic sharing of information regarding research, collecting, education, conservation, and community outreach by examining their shared past (Szylvian, 2015). We not only explored the different ways in which librarianship could positively influence marginalized communities but we also learned about the technological and legislative trends, as well as professional responsibilities within the field. The completion of this course confirms my proficiency in the 1st ALA Core Competency – Foundations of the Profession. The artifact below further evidences this.
Throughout the duration of this course I was able to develop critical and analytical reading skills needed to interpret theoretical literature in Public History, Museum Studies, Art History, Archival Management, and Library and Information Science. The final project for this course, and artifact for this competency, allowed me to demonstrate my research abilities by locating and assessing primary and secondary sources, developing an interpretive message, and communicating the research interpretations to scholarly, professional, and popular audiences by incorporating new digital technologies used for displaying cultural heritage.
The Art Resurgence in El Barrio Website is a digital exhibit that responded to the questions raised about galleries, collectors, and/or dealers. I wanted to explore the history of art in El Barrio, another name for East Harlem where a large portion of the population were of Puerto Rican decent, and how institutions like El Museo del Barrio and El Taller Boricua (a gallery) came to be. I was able to work with employees at El Museo and the founder of El Taller, Marcos Dimas, to put this digital exhibit together using Omeka, an open source web-publishing platform. By exploring these backgrounds I was able to learn more about the foundations of the profession as a whole and the role of the information professional in the promotion of democratic principles and intellectual freedom. By creating this online exhibit I also understand the relationship between information technology and information science.
History of GLAM allowed me to explore different techniques and methods used to gain new knowledge in the field. We were taught how to use alternative research materials which is what led to the completion of my final project. While it wasn’t my first time working with El Museo it was the first time I delved deeply into its history and it was surprising to see how intertwined its history was with El Taller’s own beginnings. Working so closely with these two important institutions allowed me to have access to research materials that could not be accessed anywhere else. Learning how to approach such a task is what allowed the final product of this research, including both the final paper and digital exhibit, to be something that I am immensely proud of. However, the most valuable part of this course were the in-class discussions. These exchanges allowed us to identify and discuss professional issues and trends in cultural heritage agencies, historical and contemporary. The weekly discussions were the most influential discussions I’ve had throughout my entire academic career.
Szylvian, K. M. (2015). Course syllabus LIS 271 advanced topics in public history: galleries, libraries, archives & museums fall 2015 [Course handout]. Division of Library and Information Science, St. John’s University, Queens, NY.