- Code MUSC8017
- Unit Value 6 units
- Offered by School of Archaeology and Anthropology
- ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
- Course subject Museum and Collection
- Areas of interest Museums and Collections, Arts, Heritage Studies
- Academic career PGRD
- Dr Anna Edmundson
- Mode of delivery Online or In Person
First Semester 2019
See Future Offerings
This course introduces students to a wide range of cultural and collecting institutions and to the historical, political, institutional and cultural frameworks for contemporary museum practice in Australia and internationally. The course focuses on the social role of the museum and supports students to critically consider key concepts and practices informing contemporary museums and their collections. We investigate the idea of the museum as contested ground and examine the complex and shifting relationships between museums and the diverse communities they serve. We explore how objects and collections acquire meaning and how those meanings are conveyed to museum visitors, ask why some cultural forms and objects become iconic, debate the elements of a successful exhibition and consider the range of skills and practices applied in contemporary museum and collecting practices. In investigating various approaches to these questions, the course links key concepts in museum studies to specific case studies.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:Upon successful completion of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- Demonstrate ongoing engagement with the contemporary
cultural and collecting sector in Canberra, throughout Australia and overseas
through critical appraisal of actual and virtual sites, exhibitions, collecting
policies and audience engagement.
- Synthesise key concepts from Museum Studies, and
demonstrate effective communication and independent conceptual thinking
relevant to museum-focused research.
- Explain the varying purposes and structures of different
kinds of museums, understand their approaches toward representation, and
evaluate their changing relationships with the audiences and communities they
- Assess and report on the significance of heritage objects, collections or sites, and demonstrate critical conceptual and practical understanding in developing appropriate approaches to presentation and interpretation.
Indicative AssessmentReview of exhibition, 500 words (20%) Learning Outcomes 1, 2
Comparison of national/state museums, 2000 words (20%) Learning Outcomes 1, 3
Significance assessment, 500 words (20%) Learning Outcome 4
Major essay, 2500 words (40%) Learning Outcomes 1, 2, 3
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Workload130 hours of total student learning time made up from:
a) 36 hours of contact over 12 weeks: 24 hours of lectures and 12 hours of tutorials.
b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.
Requisite and Incompatibility
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.
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- 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.