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What Can Museums Become? —2020 Obermann Humanities Symposium

Mar 5, 2020

All Day

UI Campus and Downtown Iowa City, Iowa City, IA 52245

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the words "what can museums become?" in yellow and red neon lettering

Museums have never been mere containers for objects, nor should they be. How might we draw strength from existing institutions to enable vibrant futures? How can we expand the communities who feel a sense of belonging within and around museums? What must we confront and transform to make this possible? Join the artists, curators, historians, educators, and thinkers who are asking, "What Can Museums Become?"

Keynote speakers include Johanna Burton, Director of the Wexner Center for the Arts at The Ohio State University; Amelia Jones, Robert A. Day Professor and Vice Dean of Research, Roski School of Art and Design, University of Southern California; and Michelle Kuo, Marlene Hess Curator of Painting and Sculpture, Museum of Modern Art.

Visiting roundtable scholars include LaTanya S. Autry, Curator of Art and Civil Rights, Mississippi Museum of Art; Lane Czaplinski, Director of Performing Arts, Wexner Center, The Ohio State University; Anaïs Duplan, Program Manager at Recess and founder of Center for Afrofuturist Studies; and Lisa Yun Lee, Director, National Public Housing Museum; Associate Professor of Public Culture and Museum Studies, University of Illinois-Chicago.

View the complete schedule, speaker bios, and related courses and events: uimuseumsymposium.com. 

This symposium is co-directed by Jennifer Buckley (English, CLAS) and Joyce Tsai (UI College of Education; UI Stanley Museum of Art). It is hosted by the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies, with support from the UI Stanley Museum of Art and the Department of English. 

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa–sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact in advance at