Module Identifier MG20110  
Academic Year 2004/2005  
Co-ordinator Mr Robert K Meyrick  
Semester Semester 1  
Other staff Mrs Belinda J Marking, Mr Robert K Meyrick  
Pre-Requisite MG10120  
Co-Requisite MG20410  
Course delivery Lecture   10  
  Seminars / Tutorials   2/2 x 1 hour  
  Practical   2 x 1.5 hour workshops  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Assessment Object Study  40%
Semester Assessment Essay or Object Study  60%

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:
1. critically use and interpret objects to understand how they relate to human endeavour
2. employ skills learned to describe, evaluate and interpret artefacts
3. question our notions of authenticity and faith in the authority of the museum

Relation to Assessment

Brief description

This core module examines the importance of material culture in our understanding of people in society. The status of objects as evidence of history and cultural experience is analysed against changing attitudes towards the study of objects from the antiquary to antiquarian and art historian. Special attention will be paid to modes of classification and existing models for Object Studies. The legal and ethical issues arising from collecting and collections are also explored


1. to introduce theories and methodologies of artefact study
2. to examine the place and role of museum objects in the creation and expression of culture
3. to consider how artefacts accumulate meaning as time passes
4. to study collecting and collections in both historical and contemporary contexts
5. to provide experience in the identification and interpretation of objects through a hands-on approach


The Course:

Transferable skills

1 Independent project work
Two Object Studies

2 IT and information handling
Word Processing
Database Information Retrieval
Internet Search

3 Use and analysis of numerical information

4 Writing in an academic context
Two Object Studies (essay equivalent)

5 Oral discussion and presentation

6 Careers need awareness
The module is specifically for students considering a career in museums, art gallery administration, public art organisations, freelance curators and exhibition organisers, and in private galleries.

7 Self-management
Course Work
Seminar Preparation

8 Group activity

Reading Lists

Daniel J Sherman & Irit Rogoff (eds.) (1994) Museum Culture, Histories, Discourses, Spectacles Routledge, London
Peter Vergo (ed.) (1989) The New Museology Reaktion Books, London
I Karp & S D Levine (1991) Exhibiting Cultures. The Poetics and Politics of Museum Display Routledge, London
Raphael Samuel (1994) Theatres of Memory Verso, London & New York
Nicholas Thomas (1999) Possessions, Indigenous Art Colonial Culture Thames and Hudson, London
Susan M Pearce (ed.) (1997) Experiencing Material Culture in the Western World, Leicester University Press, London & Washington
Susan M Pearce (ed.) (1989) Museum Studies in Material Culture Leicester University Press, Leicester and London
Susan M Pearce (1992) Museums, Objects & Collections Leicester University Press, Leicester
Susan M Pearce (ed.) (1996) On Collecting Leicester University Press
Paul du Gay, Stuart Hall et al (1997) Doing Cultural Studies; the Story of the Sony Walkman Sage Publications & The Open University, London
Thomas Schlereth (ed.) (1982) Material Culture Studies in America American Association for State and Local History
George W Stocking Jr (1992) The Ethnographers Magic and Other Essays in the History of Anthropology The University of Winsconsin press, Winsconsin/London
Susan Stewart (1993) On Longing, Narratives of the Miniature, the Gigantic, the Souvenir, the Collection Duke University Press, Durham & London
James Clifford (1988) The Predicament of Culture: Twentieth-Century Ethnography, Literature and Art Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass & London
James Deetz (1996) In Small Things Forgotten, An Archaeology of Early American Life Anchor Books, Doubleday, New York
Umberto Eco (1995) Faith in Fakes, Travels in Hyper-reality Minerva, London
L Buck & P Dodd (1991) Relative Values: or What Art's Worth BBC Books, London
John Elsner & Roger Cardinal (eds.) (1994) The Cultures of Collecting Reaktion Books, London
Dick Hebdige (1988) Hiding in the Light, On Images and Things Comedia & Routledge, London


This module is at CQFW Level 5