South Africa has a history of expressive culture dating from some of the world’s first examples of rock art to today’s art that reflects the complexities of a multi-cultural society undergoing tremendous transformations.Before the end of apartheid and the establishment of a new government in 1994, much of the nation’s art, music, history, and culture were little known to the rest of the world.
Participants in this study abroad program will be introduced directly to the historical forms of cultural heritage unique to this region. Through site visits, conversations with arts professionals and museum staff, and reflection activities, students will critically assess the social, racial, religious, political, and cultural factors that have impacted both these expressions and the institutions charged with preserving and presenting culture. Special attention will be paid to framing these investigations in the context of worldwide issues and standards of museum practice.
The program will run for approximately 8 weeks from June 10 – August 2: three weeks of instruction (one week on the MSU campus, one in Johannesburg, two days in Kruger National Park, and one week in Cape Town) followed by a five week internship in a Cape Town museum or cultural heritage organization.
For those who are interested, this program also provides participants with an opportunity to complete seven of the requisite 15 credits needed to obtain a transcriptable Museum Studies specialization for undergraduates or a certificate for graduate and lifelong education students.
Cape Town area visits will include:
- Robben Island Museum (now designated a world heritage site by UNESCO) and the Nelson Mandela Gateway Museum
- District Six Museum (now a member, along with the National Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., of the world’s association of Museums of Historic Conscience)
- Company’s Gardens
- Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden
- Cape Point and Table Mountain National Park
- South African National Gallery – Iziko Museums