Drawing on object-oriented approaches to rhetoric and the scholarship of museum education, the author describes her development of a first-year composition experience that puts observation at the center of first-year writing—observation of an art object and its context of display, as well as self-observation of a writer interacting with that object. The experience uses these object-oriented encounters to broaden students’ understanding of the role that close observation plays in effective writing while acting as a case study for how first-year composition instructors can draw on object and museum theories to design experiences and assignments conducted outside of traditional classroom spaces.

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