Our history

The Department of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester - the first of its kind - was founded in 1966 by Raymond Singleton, with the intention of developing expertise in all areas of the academic study and applied profession of museums and heritage. At that time, there was one lecturer and one member of technical staff, with 20 students studying museology.

In recent years, museums and galleries across the world have been subject to enormous change. Museum Studies at Leicester has been a centre for some of the most influential thinking in museums and heritage, and has been at the heart of the exciting developments across the industry. Our staff continue to carry out research which engages with and informs cutting-edge practice.

Our Research Centre for Museums and Galleries (RCMG) has, over the past decade, developed a programme of innovative and rigorous research that has informed policy and practice and inspired innovation and experimentation internationally. Indeed, Leicester’s long standing reputation was confirmed in 2009 when the results of the Research Assessment Exercise were announced showing that we are home to the highest proportion of world-leading researchers in any subject area in any UK university. In 2016, our 50th year, we introduced a new research organisation: CRÍA.

Our innovation, however, is not confined to our research activities. We are committed to student-centred learning of the highest quality and to actively supporting learners from diverse cultural and academic backgrounds. Graduates from our Masters and PhD programmes work in museums and galleries, arts and heritage organisations, universities and research centres around the world, and draw on the experiences and skills gained through their studies to innovate through creative practice. Opportunities are available for study and research either in Leicester or by distance learning for those with work or personal commitments that demand greater flexibility. Our commitment to innovation and inclusivity continues to underpin all of our activities