Project’s goals: Description, analysis, and interpretation of the symbolic construction of
1) Read and consider. For background on the courtyard exhibit and installation, read
the New York Times article “History’s Hands” (March 11, 2011). For an analysis of
Orientalism, refer to Edward Said’s introduction to his book Orientalism (1978). Both
texts are posted on Dropbox.
2) Visit the Moroccan Court at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (located on Fifth Avenue
and East 82nd Street). Take notes, and make photographs, sketches, or recordings. Be
sure to watch the video describing the construction process. Observe the courtyard and
the space surrounding it. Where is the courtyard located within the entire exhibition
space of the New Galleries? What architectural artifacts have been included in the
Moroccan Court exhibition? How are they displayed? How are objects arranged in space?
Do you think anything has been excluded? Do you think there is an agenda at play? How
does one interact within the space? Describe your observations in writing.
3) Interpret and respond. Formulate an argument while considering the following: How
is architecture used to exhibit culture? Is what is being exhibited reflective of the “true”
culture or is it skewed? Which culture is being displayed? Does Orientalism influence the
concept? Consider materials used (and not used), context (of the original and the
exhibit), and construction (method and labor). Does the recreated courtyard further the
designer’s and the museum’s intention of facilitating exchange between the U.S. and
4) Remember to call on Said’s text in analyzing the exhibit and identifying its successes and