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Art Survey I (ART 2700)

Museum Paper 

Purpose: in written format, convey that one has learned, and can apply, what they have learned from the course material through the analytical skills involved in art theory and criticism and further develop critical-thinking skills.

The Plan Prior to Going to the Museum

  • Plan your visit by prior to going to the museum by visiting the museums’ website to learn what is on view and to help provide direction on what you might want to see.
    • ​Select the work of two different artists of similar or different media only from the periods covered in this course.
    • Any style or period covered during the timeframe of this course is permissible (e.g., Prehistory to Gothic Art for Art Survey I does not include the Proto-Renaissance, despite the fact this style is seen in the 1500s), regardless of whether it is covered in whole, part or is completely absent from the course content taught this semester.
    • Keep in mind you are choosing two (2) pieces from different periods, styles and artists.
  • You are required to have the instructor approve your prospective works of art before visiting the museum.
    • ​You must communicate this information during the class session (noted on the Course Calendar) during which ideas will be discussed or via an individual conversation with your instructor.

Where to Go

Make an in-person visit to either of the following free museums:

  • National Gallery of Art: Located on the National Mall in Washington, DC between 3rd and 7th Streets at Constitution Avenue NW; closest Metro: Archives-Navy Memorial-Penn Quarter stop on the Yellow-Green line (paid street-parking is available)
  • Johns Hopkins Archaeological Museum: 150 Gilman Hall, 3400 N. Charles Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21218 (free street- and paid-lot parking available)
  • The Walters Art Museum: 600 N. Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21201 (free street- and paid-lot parking available)


What to Do When at the Museum

Make an in-person visit to the museum.

  • Bring these instructions with you to ensure you have not forgotten considerations you need to make when viewing your chosen works.
  • Please note that the museum may not permit flash photography or photographing works that are on display through Special Exhibitions.
    • ​If an artwork has been chosen from a Special Exhibition, please either purchase a postcard or some other copyrighted image to submit with your paper.


What to Do When You Begin Your Research

  • Use the information made available to you under the Resources folder, which is found on the class’ Blackboard site (under the Syllabus & Schedule button / Course Materials folder).
  • MLA style documentation of sources (both within the body of the paper and on a Works Cited page at its end) must be used.
  • At least three (3) sources should be used for research, not including the course textbook. (Wikipedia,, personal and professional blogs, and high school or college student research papers found on the internet are not considered valid resources.)
  • In addition to other secondary research sources, feel free to use the resources available through PGCC’s Library.

What to Do When You Begin to Write

  • Your paper must include a cover sheet with your name, the instructor’s name, the course title and section number, and the date on which the assignment is due.
  • Your paper should be seven (7) to 10 pages in length, typed, 12 point font, 1” margins on all sides; 1.5” line spacing.
  • Correct grammar and punctuation are required.
  • In your written portion, the paper must clearly compare and contrast the two (2) works chosen for this project within the context of your thesis statement (a.k.a. topic sentence), not simply report on one work then the other without making connections between them.
  • Remember to properly cite any sources you use within the body of the document. (Tips are provided under the Paraphrasing and Citation PDFs found on the class’ Blackboard site under the Resources folder.)

General outline of the paper

  • In the first paragraph:
    • Identify both works to be discussed by artist, title, date of completion, area of completion, and present location.
    • State the purpose of the paper as a thesis sentence that connects both works that were selected.
  • In the body of the paper, compare and contrast the two works based on the following criteria. Back up your assertions with examples from each work and from outside research.
    • Compare and contrast the style, iconography, and technique of the two works
    • Compare and contrast the content of each work, including how the attributes of various media influence content
    • Compare and contrast the conceptual ideas underlying the artistic movements in which each work was produced
    • Evaluate the influence and relevance of both works in defining the historic, economic, social, and cultural periods in which they were produced.
    • For each work, choose one (1) other work found in the same gallery as the artworks you chose as the subjects of your paper. State the title and artist of these work, then give your opinion as to why you believe the curator placed both sets of artwork (the one you chose for your paper and another nearby) in the same gallery.
  • Conclude your paper with a brief summary of the main points of the paper, an explanation of why each work was chosen and how the works you chose as the subjects for your paper are meaningful to you.

What to Do After Your Research & Writing

  • Proof-read your document
  • Check the grading rubric for this project to determine which edits you need to make.
  • Write a properly formatted Works Cited page. (The Resources folder on the class’ Blackboard site gives specific and general tips.)
  • Include color copies of each artwork that is a subject of your paper (images are not part of the page count). Properly format these images as an Art Criticism Identification

Submission Instructions

  • Without exception, a labeled color image is to be submitted in class the day on which the paper is due. Such submission is required whether or not the student only plans to submit the paper online.
    • Under the image, correctly label the work as one would for an Art Criticism Identification.
  • Hard copies of the cover page, color image, and Works Cited pages are due in class on the date the research paper is due.
  • Finally, submit the paper, as a single submission of one (1) file, through the Safe Assignment link made available on the course’s Blackboard site (under the Course Content folder), by 11 pm ET on the date the paper is due.
    • Please begin to submit by 11:30 pm to ensure your document is received on time.
    • No handwritten comments will be placed on this submission.

Note: the rubric by which the museum paper will be evaluated can be found on the syllabus.

Please be aware that this is the general assignment and your professor may have altered the requirements. Always refer to your professor for the most up to date information.