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. You'll begin by examining definitions of the museum, how these have changed, and then focus on the question of who museums are for. You'll also consider how museums both shape and are shaped by their communities, and the wider social and cultural landscapes in which they are situated.

Exploring and assessing how wider agendas, policy and current museology are impacting on these institutions will be central to the module. A core theme will be to investigate the place of the museum in society by looking at its history, and changing ideas about museums as sites of knowledge and education. This will also involve 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 landscapes
  • The ‘postdigital’ museum
  • Museum ethics

Learning

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

Assessment

  • Essay, 2,500 words (100%)