A Sequence of Short Writing Assignments in Art History 601

Professor Ann Smart Martin
Department of Art History

Assignment #1: Write a 150-word analysis that makes your personal object interesting and informative to someone else (your roommate, friend, partner, or whatever disinterested person you can think of).

Student example:

Ball Brothers

New York, United Sates


The molded glass Ball Jar most known for its ability to can and preserve food was founded by the five Ball Brothers in 1880.

The rarity of the Ball Jar can be recognized by its color and shape. Today you might find them in a range of colors such as red or purple but the original aqua blue and green were made to block light from spoiling the contents inside. The mason jar screw thread top will seal and vacuum its content, keeping your cherry jam or heirloom tomato sauce preserved throughout the winter. Current day canning and preserving practices may not be as common today due to modern refrigeration but the Ball Jar continues to adapt in the modern age. Florists use them as center pieces at wedding receptions while mixologists create trendy cocktails served in a Ball Jar.

Assignment #2: Writing short object labels for catalog (below, with example)

Review all the readings about writing good labels. In particular, think about the writings from the Victoria and Albert Museum readings that is found on class site and summarized below. Aim for 100-150 words.

Write for your audience

Stick to the text hierarchy and word count

Organize your information

Engage with the object

Admit uncertainty

Assignment #3 (Final assignment): Write an approximately 500-page explication of selected objects for the catalog. Each catalog section would hence have one larger object story.

Take a look at the e-book (below link) and see if there is anything useful here both writing parts are included there.

Link: https://wisc.pb.unizin.org/driftless/chapter/shoe