• 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 Cultural Studies, Museums and Collections
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Mode of delivery In Person

Traditional museums, where collecting and collections had first place and visitors were passive observers, have given way to vibrant institutions engaged with society, responsive to various audiences, and focused on new modes of communication. Investigating the idea of the museum as contested ground, where different viewpoints vie to be heard, this course re-evaluates whether national museums provide symbols of nationhood and local museums expressions of community values, and examines the complex and shifting relationships between museums and the diverse communities they serve.

Key course topics:

  • The new museology and national museums
  • Community collaboration and the representation of diversity
  • Collections assessment and significance

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. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the historical, political, institutional and cultural frameworks for contemporary museum practice in Australia and internationally;

2. Synthesise key concepts from the various disciplines that contribute to the field of Museum Studies and apply theoretical ideas to specific situations and case studies;

3. Demonstrate effective communication and independent conceptual thinking relevant to the field of museum-focused research; and

Demonstrate ongoing engagement with the contemporary cultural and collecting sector in Canberra and overseas through critical appraisal of actual and virtual, sites, exhibitions, collecting policies and audience engagement.

Learning Outcomes:

1.     To gain skills in written and verbal expression for a variety of relevant professional and academic purposes that include essays, collections assessments, funding applications, proposals for exhibitions and public programs, and interpretive text.

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

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

Indicative Assessment

Exhibition review (20% / 800 wds); Comparative essay and in-class presentation (50% / 3000 wds); and Significance Assessment (30% / 1200 wds).

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.

Requisite and Incompatibility

You will need to contact the School of Archaeology and Anthropology to request a permission code to enrol in this course.

Preliminary Reading

Elaine Heumann Gurian (2006) Civilizing the Museum: the collected writings of Elaine Heumann Gurian. London: Routledge.

Bettina Messias Carbonell (ed) (2004) Museum Studies: An Anthology of Contexts. Malden MA: Blackwell Publishing.



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. Tuition fees are indexed annually. 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
2016 $3054
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2016 $4368
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

There are no current offerings for this course.

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