Search #ObjectLabWCMA on Instagram to see how Williams classes are using Object Lab.

Object Lab is a hybrid gallery-classroom and a responsive pedagogical platform. Faculty across academic divisions collaborate with museum staff to select works of art that employ, convey, or investigate key course concepts. These works of art are installed in the gallery for the semester, offering students and faculty extended access to the art.

Object Lab, spring 2016, Biology 220.

Object Lab, spring 2016, Biology 220.

Biology 220 Field Botany and Plant Natural History

Professor Joan Edwards encourages her Field Botany students to closely study a work of art and describe what they see, paying particular attention to the botanical details. Students then revisit their work after they have examined the plant in the lab and perhaps its natural environment as well. The short papers they write reveal how their ways of viewing the plant and the art have changed.

Rashida Braggs, AFR 323 Comic Lives: Graphic Novels & Dangerous Histories of the African Diaspora in Object Lab.

Professor Rashida Braggs with her class, AFR 323 Comic Lives: Graphic Novels & Dangerous Histories of the African Diaspora in Object Lab.

AFR 323 Comic Lives: Graphic Novels & Dangerous Histories of the African Diaspora

Professor Rashida Braggs of Africana Studies used Thomas Nast’s preliminary sketches in tandem with Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Students created designs incorporating text from the book. They also wrote short response papers looking at works of art through the lens of representing ethnic trauma.

Contact Elizabeth Gallerani to learn more.


Spring 2017 Courses

AFR 211, Race and the Environment (James Manigault-Bryant)

ARTH 103, Asian Art Survey: From the Land of the Buddha to the World of the Geisha (Scarlett Jang)

ARTH 230, The Temple in South Asia (Heeryoon Shin)

ARTH 263, Introduction to Contemporary Art: Institutions and Upsetters (Brynn Hatton)

ARTH 308, African Art and the Western Museum (Michelle Apotsos)

BIOL 220, Field Botany and Plant Natural History (Joan Edwards)

PSYC 318, Image, Imaging, and Imagining: The Brain and Visual Arts (Betty Zimmerberg)

PSYC 328, Understanding Attention and Distraction (Jeff Moher)


Sample Assignments

COMP 354: Write a brief museum label in which you mediate on the idea of innocence in relationship to the artwork. Drawing on our readings and discussions in class, the word innocence has multiple meanings and layers. Feel free to choose whichever meaning of the term you like to engage the artwork.

CHEM 336: Write a 2-3 page paper comparing and contrasting at least two objects in the exhibit that are made of the same material and a third newer material that has been recently developed. You will need to include a comparison of the objects with materials, observation, historical significance, uses or artistic intentions, and a description of how the newer technology fits in with today’s society.

ARTH 104: Sketch and write at least five sentences describing your impression of each object (one per week) and how you imagine they might have been used in their original contexts.


Spring 2018 Proposal Form

Submit by Friday, October 27, 2017
  • How do you envision using objects to help enrich your teaching? Liz Gallerani will work with you to identify works that support your goals. If you have specific ideas, feel free to list them here. You can search our collection online.
  • Please explain your projected use of these objects for the course, such as related assignments or projects.