Ancient Art in the Flesh: Discovering Ancient Art at the RISD Museum

Course Description

In this course, you will receive an introduction to the artistic traditions of three major civilizations of the ancient world: Egypt, Greece, and Rome. The excellent collections on and around Brown campus offer wonderful opportunities to study this art first hand, and we will spend significant time in museum galleries where we will discuss different ways in which we interpret and respond to these objects now that they are in collections rather than in their original context.

We will query how museums develop their collections and how they emerged as 'temples of knowledge.' We will examine how museums now structure and reframe artifacts to construct new knowledge: should we see these collections as art, artifacts, or something else? How can we uncover their cultural contexts and communicate these to others?

We will not just experience artifacts in galleries, but we will also handle artifacts in person from the Joukowsky Institute's archaeological collection and experience artifacts and museum space in virtual space at Brown's virtual reality lab. In light of these different experiences, and experiencing artifacts in different ways, we will revisit the questions above and discover how different settings influence and define our interactions with material culture. You will explore these questions for yourself by exploring the RISD museum galleries on your own, studying and presenting on objects in its collections that interest you, and eventually by designing your own mini-museum exhibit!

After this course, you will have:

• gained a working knowledge on art from the ancient Egyptian, Greek, and Roman worlds;
• gained a good understanding of the development of museums;
• are able to position yourself in current debates on museums, (ancient) art, and archaeology;
• developed essential skills in researching, writing, and presenting your own original work.

The skills and knowledge you develop in this course provide essential tools for those who are interested in pursuing degree programs in art, history, archaeology, and related fields across the country.


This course has no prerequisites and you are not required to have any experience or knowledge of the subjects we will discuss. However, a prior interest in art and/or museums and museology would be useful as you'll be spending much time in the RISD galleries and eventually develop your own museum exhibit.


One Section Available to Choose From:

Online sections of Pre-College courses are offered in one of the following modalities: Asynchronous, Mostly asynchronous, or Blended. Please review full information regarding the experience here.

Dates: June 27, 2022 - July 01, 2022
Duration: 1 Weeks
Meeting Times: M-F 12:15P-3:05P
Status: Closed
Format: On-Campus
Instructor(s): Emily Booker
Course Number: 10007