• Offered by School of Archaeology and Anthropology
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Classification Advanced
  • Course subject Museum and Collection
  • Areas of interest Art History, Cultural Studies, Australian Indigenous Studies, Museums and Collections
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Prof Howard Morphy
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in Winter Session 2014
    See Future Offerings

This course focuses on theoretical and practical issues relating to indigenous collections and exhibitions, drawing its interdisciplinary approach and methodology from the fields of anthropology and cultural studies as well as museum studies. This allows students to develop a critical understanding of the creation, function, histories, politics and contemporary meanings of objects; the representation of cultures in museum displays and other public venues; shifting relations between source communities and museum; problems of landscape, place, and space; art and aesthetics; visual anthropology; and issues of representation, including photographic representation.

The specific emphasis is on collections and exhibitions relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples that are held or displayed in Australia or overseas, but specific attention is also given to other ethnographic and historical collections and displays. Issues examined during the course include the history of collecting and exhibitions, community representation, ownership and intellectual property, repatriation, negotiation, preservation, and modes of display.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

Course aims:

On completing this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

1. Interpret institutional, agency and government policies and frameworks pertaining to Indigenous collections and consultation with Indigenous and other communities, and to engage in ethical and sensitive processes appropriate to the diversity of constituents and communities;

2. Conceptualise the main issues pertaining to repatriation and the preservation,ownership and intellectual property of traditional knowledge;

3. Evaluate the representation of Indigenous individuals and communities in museums and other exhibition contexts;

4. Conduct primary research into Indigenous collections including effective written and verbal communication; and

5. Model best practice and a commitment to ethical, reflective practice in crosscultural museum contexts.

Learning Outcomes:

1. To gain skills in written and verbal expression for a variety of relevant professional and academic purposes.

2. To develop skills in interdisciplinary cross-cultural thinking and the ability to apply theoretical ideas to case studies developed from personal observation.

3. To gain skills required for collections-based work. This includes data-collection, analysis, and verbal and written presentation at the standard of a postgraduate degree.

4. To gain skills required to model best practice and a demonstrate commitment to ethical, reflective practice in crosscultural museum contexts.

Indicative Assessment

Collections project comprising presentation and documentation equivalent to 2,500 words (65%) and 2,500 word essay (35%).

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


1.5 contact hours per week during semester; 19.5 hours total during one week of mid-semester break.

Preliminary Reading

Kreps, Christina F. (2003), Liberating Culture: Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Museums, Curation and Heritage Preservation, London and New York: Routledge.


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Students continuing in their current program of study will have their tuition fees indexed annually from the year in which you commenced your program. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee Description
1994-2003 $1926
2014 $2478
2013 $2472
2012 $2472
2011 $2424
2010 $2358
2009 $2286
2008 $2286
2007 $2286
2006 $2286
2005 $2286
2004 $1926
International fee paying students
Year Fee
1994-2003 $3618
2014 $3762
2013 $3756
2012 $3756
2011 $3756
2010 $3750
2009 $3618
2008 $3618
2007 $3618
2006 $3618
2005 $3618
2004 $3618
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Winter Session

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
5591 01 Jul 2014 18 Jul 2014 18 Jul 2014 30 Sep 2014 In Person N/A

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