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CU Art Museum Research: Researching Museum Objects

Researching Objects

When researching a work of art, often we look for previous interpretations of that specific work of art. But most of the times such interpretations don't exist, especially for works in the CU Art Museum collection. Instead researcher need to extrapolate information from the context surrounding a work of art and make new connections. To start, one should ask research questions like Who made this? What was it used for? What symbolism did it have? What was happening in society at the time is was made?

Thus research into a work of art often starts with more general information about the artists, the period, the style, the material, or the social context. It's the researchers job to then determine how the object relates to these contexts, thus creating new information and interpretions.

Search for Books & Articles

Use OneSearch to begin your research by searching for books and articles at the CU Boulder Libraries. However searching for the object's name or title is unlikely to get good results, instead think about how you could do research into the context of the object, perhaps by searching for the artist, culture, or type of object.

Discovering areas for Contextual Research

worksheet for asking expanding research questions

Get Help with Art Research

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Alex Watkins