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Busch Lectures in Russia on Ferris' Museum of Sexist Objects

Ferris State University
PHOTO CAPTION: Associate professor of History Tracy Busch made a presentation on Ferris State University’s Museum of Sexist Objects (MoSO) at the Kazan Kremlin Museum Conference in Kazan, Tatarstan, Russia in November. Busch is the universities’ lead faculty for MoSO.

The lead faculty for Ferris State University’s Museum of Sexist Objects traveled to Kazan, in the Republic of Tatarstan, Russia in November, to deliver a lecture at the Kazan Kremlin Museum Conference.

Associate Professor of History Tracy Nichols Busch said this marked the first international presentation of MoSO. The audience consisted of museum Ferris State Universitypractitioners who were interested in learning about how a museum could offer a platform for discussing social issues. Busch’s presentation gave an overview of the museum, in particular the seminal role played by Ferris students in accessioning the objects and developing exhibit categories.

Busch’s visit was supported by professional development funding provided by the Humanities department, which allowed her to learn from other conference participants, while giving them information on how the objects in the MoSO can be used to enhance the classroom experience. A major theme of the conference was how to best facilitate deep learning through interaction with museum visitors. Busch said the MoSO presentation was well received.

“Russians, as a people, are very much museum goers,” Busch said. “The emphasis in most cases is opening up presentations to a younger audience, but MoSO, by design, is not a children’s museum. Going against the grain is intentional, both at MoSO, and at the university’s Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia. Adjunct Professor Lilia Caserta’s presentation, on the Jim Crow Museum, was also well-received by both the audience and the larger community, as we were both interviewed by the local news station after our presentations.”

Busch said her presentation was well attended, and the timing of the conference presented an opportunity to address sexism’s place in the United States political scene.

“I arrived the day after the presidential election, which was most topical,” Busch said. “The information in Russia was negative about Hillary Clinton, so my presentation, which allowed for the examination of the role that stereotypes can play in swaying elections was interesting to them. It offered an entirely different perspective and got them thinking about how female politicians are portrayed in Russia.”

The professor recalled her first visit to Kazan, 25 years ago, which found her on site the day that Soviet Union was officially dissolved, Dec. 25, 1991.

“At the time, I was researching the teaching of history in the schools and could feel the growing tensions between the Muslim and Christian communities," Busch said. "That has since been mitigated by a concerted effort on the part of the Tatarstan government. The republic’s successful navigation through potentially separatist waters has garnered international attention.”

"I was pleased to visit other museums in Kazan, including one dedicated to tsarist history, natural history and Islamic history,” Busch said. “I was also able to spend a significant amount of time in the Kul-Sharif mosque while I was there, and entered a number of discussions about how Tatarstan can serve as a model for communities that struggle with combating negative stereotypes about Muslims. The Kul-Sharif Mosque was built in the 1990s with the intent of fostering mutual understanding, and I was impressed by what I saw.”