Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 2
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 6 x 1 hour
Seminars / Tutorials 4 x 1 1/2 hours 1/2 hour for each student for essay/project feedback tutorial
Workload Breakdown Contact hours (above) 20 Seminar Preparation 40 General Reading 30 Independent museum/gallery visits 30 Project Research and Preparation 40 Essay Research and Preparation 40


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

Discuss the display and interpretation of fine art in a museum context, and describe how museum displays have influenced art historiographical frameworks

Present museums as a manifestation of social, political and cultural determinants

Examine the nature of collecting and collections by comparting the collecting activities of collectors and institutions

Analyse the contribution of private collectors to the formation of public museums


  • Develop museum practice and the study of material culture within the study of art history at the School of Art
  • Utilise further the School's collections of fine and decorative art

Brief description

The module provides an historical and theoretical introduction to museums and collecting from the Merchant-Princes of the Early Modern Period to the Museum in the Modern World. It examines the rationales that underpin collecting as a private or public activity, considering the ways that museums and collections have been formed through the activities of the State, Royalty, the Church, artists, art historians and patrons. It presents an introduction to musems in Western Europe, from the Renaissance to the present, to examine and challenge the ways in which visual culture has been displayed to reflect art historical cannons and the ways in which it has itself formed and influenced those canons. Both traditional and new approaches to museum displays are explored from a historical, theoretical, practical, formal and sociological standpoint. Case studies will be used to examine how specific institutions operate in relation to their audience and formulate policy to meet increasing demands for improved interpretation and access to the collections, and education provision, without sacrificing standards of collection management and care.


  1. Ways of Looking at Museums and Collections: Some Definitions (seminar)
  2. The Urge to Collect (seminar)
  3. Shaping the World: From Archaic to Early Modern Collecting
  4. Princes as Patrons: Patronage at Court in Renassiance Italy
  5. From Classic to Contemporary Collecting
  6. 18th Century British and European Collectors & Collections
  7. 19th Century Collectors and Collecting
  8. Early 20th Century Collectors: Collecting Impressionism (seminar)
  9. Collecting Cultures and the Gender of Collecting (seminar)
  10. The Contemporary Setting: Current Art Curatorial and Museum Practice; Challanges for the Future

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number
Improving own Learning and Performance
Information Technology
Personal Development and Career planning
Problem solving Museum or Gallery Evaluation Essay Seminar Preparation Collections Analysis
Research skills
Subject Specific Skills
Team work


This module is at CQFW Level 4