Museum Sessions For University Courses

Each academic year, area colleges and approximately 400 Cornell University courses from more than 50 departments and programs organize and develop Museum sessions with the Johnson’s educational and curatorial staff. In addition to focusing on current exhibitions, we design and lead sessions using works of art from our global collection spanning six thousand years, six continents, and more than 35,000 objects.

Museum sessions are held Tuesdays to Fridays from 10 AM to 5 PM (special arrangements can be made for classes that meet only on Mondays or outside of regular hours). Due to high demand, it is recommended that you contact the Museum before the semester begins, and at least three weeks’ notice is required. Requests made with shorter notice cannot be guaranteed. Sessions are scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis and free to university classes.

Contact Leah Sweet, Lynch Curatorial Coordinator for Academic Programs, for further information and to set up an initial meeting. Please include:

  • Department and title of course
  • Copy of syllabus
  • Number of students and TAs
  • Preferred dates and times for Museum session

In the initial meeting, we will establish objectives, a plan for the Museum session, and a set of artworks to study. A maximum of twelve (12) objects not currently on view can be requested, and there may be restrictions based on size and availability. 

There are six separate spaces available to visiting classes: a study gallery classroom; a 150-seat lecture room that can be divided into two large classrooms; the visible storage gallery (a hybrid gallery and classroom space); the Rona Hollander Citrin ’80 and Jeffrey Citrin Photography Center; and the Maria and Donald Cox Studio.

Semester-Long Courses

Each semester, the Johnson Museum serves as a classroom on a weekly basis for courses that use objects from the collection. To learn more about collaborating with the Museum during a full semester, please contact Cathy Klimaszewski, Associate Director and the Harriett Ames Charitable Trust Curator of Education.

For instructors of these courses, please observe the following guidelines:

  • Objects must be requested no less than two weeks ahead of the class meeting, and this list of objects (with accession numbers) must be emailed to Cathy Klimaszewski or Leah Sweet
  • There is a limit of twelve (12) works per class unless Museum curatorial permission is granted, and there may be other restrictions based on size and availability.
  • A staff member or curatorial Museum intern must be present with the works at all times, and unless curatorial permission is granted, the staff member or intern will handle all objects. 
  • Any special set up or AV requests must also be made at least one week prior to the class.

Study Gallery Installations

Small course-related installations in the study gallery can be requested for a period of up to two weeks to allow for extended viewing and research by students. Preferably, one semester advance notice is required to organize study gallery installations. Requests are met on a first-come, first-served basis. Please contact Cathy Klimaszewski or Leah Sweet for details. 

Independent Research

Appointments to view works of art for scholarly purposes can be arranged by contacting the collection curators:
Ellen Avril: Asian art
Nancy Green: European and American prints and drawings, 1800–1945; decorative art
Andrea Inselmann: Modern and contemporary art
Andy Weislogel: European art before 1800; other areas of the collection
Kate Addleman-Frankel: photography

You can search our collections online, and access to object files, archival material, and other primary resources related to the collections can be arranged by contacting our curatorial assistant, Laura Libert

Visible storage gallery: More than one thousand works of art from the African, pre-Columbian, Asian, and decorative arts collections are on view on Floor 2L. 

Pedagogical Workshops for Faculty

Museum staff are eager to work with faculty to explore new ways to use the collection. These pedagogical workshops include an introduction to the collections and Museum resources; techniques and strategies for teaching with original works of art; and how to develop and schedule Museum sessions for courses across the disciplines. Please contact Leah Sweet for details. 

Visiting Artist and Speaker Program

The visiting artist and speaker program brings artists to campus for lectures, studio visits, and discussions with students and faculty, often in connection with exhibitions. These visits, along with other lectures and gallery talks by distinguished curators, specialists, and art historians, are posted in the calendar section.

Previous artists and speakers include Maryan Ainsworth, Michael Arad, Xu Bing, Willie Cole, Andy Goldsworthy, Mike Hearn, Faye Hirsch, Klaus Kertess, Maya Lin, Sally Mann, John A. Pinto, Susan Rothenberg, Andres Serrano, Storm Tharp, Leo Villareal, Carrie Mae Weems, and Martie Young, among many others. 

Faculty Advisory Committee

Faculty members from a variety of disciplines serve on the committee and interact with Museum staff to generate new ideas about how the Museum can be an even more effective learning resource on campus. For more information, please contact Cathy Klimaszewski.

Faculty Advisory Committee 2016–17

Michael Ashkin
Associate Professor and Department Chair, Department of Art

Xak Bjerken
Professor, Department of Music

David Faulkner
Senior Lecturer, John S. Knight Institute for Writing in the Disciplines and English

Geri Gay
Kenneth J. Bissett Professor of Communication and Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellow

Denise Green
Assistant Professor and Director of the Cornell Costume and Textile Collection, Department of Fiber Science and Apparel Design

Salah Hassan
Goldwin Smith Professor of African and African Diaspora Art History and Visual Culture, Africana Studies and Research Center and the Department of the History of Art and Visual Studies

Cynthia Hazan
Associate Professor, Department of Human Development

John Henderson
Professor, Department of Anthropology

Kent L. Hubbell
Professor, Department of Architecture

C. Richard Johnson, Jr.
Geoffrey S. M. Hedrick Senior Professor of Engineering and Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellow

Johannes Lehmann
Professor, School of Integrative Plant Science, Soil and Crop Sciences Section

Cynthia Robinson
Professor and Department Chair, Department of History of Art and Visual Studies

Wolfgang H. Sachse
Meinig Family Professor of Engineering

Daniel R. Schwarz
Frederic J. Whiton Professor of English Literature and Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellow

Laurel Southard
Senior Lecturer, School of Integrative Plant Science, Plant Biology Section

Michael Tomlan
Professor, Historic Preservation Planning Director, Department of City and Regional Planning

Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon
Associate Professor, Department of English

Mary Woods
Professor, College of Architecture, Art, and Planning