art236-01/02~The Arts in America Danvers Historical Society Research Project


Project Component:


Research Question(s)

We are trying to help the Danvers Historical Society to establish the historical and cultural context for your object.  A good way to do this is to ask questions about the object.  Your questions may shift or expand as you pursue your research.  Some general questions are:

  • Why is this object interesting?

  • When and where was the object likely made?

  • What type of person would have commissioned, purchased, or used this object?

  • How was the object made?  Who made it?

  • How was it used?  What might it have been used for?

  • What message or cultural beliefs does it convey?

  • How does it compare with other objects of its type?

  • How well can we relate to it today?

  • Insert your question(s) here!

Preliminary Bibliography

Your research will help you to answer these questions and others that may come up as you go along.

  • You should use at least three high quality sources for your research.

  • You should consult sources that have been vetted by scholars, such as books, exhibition catalogs, journal articles, and museum websites.  

  • You may consult Wikipedia (and should include it in your bibliography if you do), but it may not count toward your three research sources.  Some Wikipedia entries have good bibliographies, for example, but others have unreliable information.  Also, websites that are trying to sell you things like posters are not good sources.

  • If you have questions about the quality of a research source, please run it by me.  If you are having trouble finding good quality research sources or need a refresher on searching for articles or requesting books from the Noble system or Interlibrary Loan, please see Zach Newell, one of the reference librarians on duty, or me.

Friday, March 6

Research Progress Report

You will turn in a 1-page update on your progress to date.  Please consider the following questions:

  • What interesting information have you found to date?

  • What questions remain?

  • What new questions have arisen?

  • What challenges or frustrations are you facing?

Wayne Eisenhauer will come to class on April 1.  We will pull the objects out again and tell him what we’ve learned so far.

Wednesday, April 1

Research Paper

Your 4-5 page essay should include:

  • A detailed and objective description of the object.  Please pretend that I am not familiar with it, and describe its visual features and condition in detail.

  • A discussion of the contextual information you found during your research.  You may also wish to discuss questions that remain unanswered, or new questions that your research raised.  

Your paper should be clearly written, well organized and free of typos.  Try to write in a lively, interesting manner:

  • compose an interesting opening sentence to draw the reader in;

  • use active verbs;

  • vary your word choices;

  • don’t use too many prepositions in one sentence;

  • split run-on sentences into two.


April 10

Reflection Paper #2

I will give you questions to consider for a 1½- to 2-page reflection paper about your experience with the DHS project.  Your paper will help Wayne Eisenhauer and me assess what worked well and what elements of the project we should consider changing in future years.


April 29

Revised Research Paper (Optional)

You may revise your research paper based on my comments and resubmit it for re-grading if you wish.


May 1

    • 5 years ago
    • 20