The Museum and Change

Module code: MU7550

This module sets the context for the course by establishing some of the key trajectories of thought around museums and galleries. In this module you will begin by examining definitions of the museum and how these have changed, to then focus on the question of who museums are for. You will also consider how museums both shape and are shaped by their communities and the wider social and cultural landscapes in which they are situated.  You will explore and assess how wider agendas, policy and current museology are impacting on these institutions. A core theme of the module is to explore the place of the museum in society by looking at its history, including changing ideas about museums as sites of knowledge and education, and by considering the contemporary debates that animate current museum discourse and practice, such as decolonising practice, museum ethics and the postdigital museum. 

Topics covered

  • Museum histories and the social role of the museum
  • Museums and ‘decolonisation’ The educational role of the museum 
  • Museums in social and cultural landscapesThe ‘postdigital’ museum
  • Museum ethics


  • 50 hours of lectures
  • 2 hours of seminars
  • 2 hours of tutorials
  • 8 hours of fieldwork
  • 88 hours of guided independent study


  • Essay, 2,500 words (100%)