This course examines the art of Polynesia with an emphasis on the art of warfare and in particular the various types and forms of clubs from Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, the Marquesas Islands, and New Zealand. While focusing primarily on creating an exhibition of the clubs, a variety of material and visual culture objects from the Pacific will be studied in order to provide context. While this course is an introduction to curatorial practice and the art of Polynesia, the course environment and culture in general.

Thanks to the generous donation from the Halpern Rogath Family, this class affords students a unique opportunity to create an exhibit for the museum in one semester. The students traveled to London and Hawaii to research Polynesian war clubs and museum exhibition design. Creating the exhibit itself was no small task. Usually planning and creating an exhbit takes years, but the class only gives the students one semester. The students met with museum specialists and archivists to learn the ins and outs of curation. Then, divided in three area groups, Fiji, Tonga and Samoa, and New Zealand and Marquesas, the students chose clubs, researched their specific areas, and wrote individual and area texts. Within the groups, the members were divided into subgroups, each contributing something important to the formation of an exhibit. One group was leadership, and along with managing the rest of the team, they worked on publicity and budget. Another group was exhibition design. They met with museum staff to determine with the class suggestions the look of the exhibit and the materials to make that look complete. The third group is study center. They helped aquire books for students to use for club research and also found a wide array of books to be put in the study center of the exhibit.The last two groups learned new technogological skills to complete their task. One group spent their time dedicated to making a video which detailed the goings on of the class, while the other group, made a website on the exhibit and on the class. The exhibit, which we named, Trouble in Paradise: The Art of Polynesian Warfare, opens on April 29, 2006.