Module Identifier MG10120  
Academic Year 2006/2007  
Co-ordinator Mr Robert K Meyrick  
Semester Semester 2 (Taught over 2 semesters)  
Other staff Mr Neil A Holland, Ms Moira M Vincentelli  
Co-Requisite AH10220 , AH10120  
Course delivery Lecture   20 Gallery Evaluation fieldtrip - 1  
  Seminars / Tutorials    
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Exam2 Hours  50%
Semester Assessment Coursework: 2500 word essay  30%
Semester Assessment Gallery evaluation  20%

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:
1. Present museums as a manifestation of a complex interaction and evaluation of social, political and cultural determinants
2. Account for the current trends in musuem provision
3. Describe how displays have influenced art historiographical frameworks
4. Discuss the origins and development of fine art in the museum context and how it relates to the roles of the art historian and curator
5. Consider different approaches to writing about museums, collections, and exhibitions
6. Explain the issues surrounding the presentation of art and craft to the public and how it is used to communicate ideas

Relation to assessment:
Museum/Gallery/Exhibition Evaluation (1,2,3,5,6) Essay (1,3,4,6), Examination (1,3,4,5,6)

Brief description

A historical and theoretical introduction to museums and collecting from the Merchant-Princes of the Early Modern Period to the Museum in the Modern World. The course examines the rationales that underpin collecting as a private or public activity. It examines the way 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 museums in western Europe, from the Renaissance to present, to examine and challenge the ways in which visual culture has been displayed to reflect art historical canons 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. to examine the nature of collecting and collections
2. to consider and discuss the presentation of `fine art? in the museum context
3. to consider the role of a National Museum with reference to the current debate concerning the National Museums and Gallery of Wales
4. to analyse the contributions private collectors have made to the formation of public museums by the study of historical and contemporary examples
5. to compare collecting activities of collectors and institutions
6. to discuss the idea that collecting activities are in certain respects gender determined
7. examine the effects of traditional methods of display and interpretation and consider how they can be improved upon to engage a wider audience


The module will cover:

Transferable skills

Reading Lists

Annie Coombes (1994) Reinventing Africa: Museums, Material Culture and Popular Imagination Yale University Press, Newhaven and London
Carol Duncan (1995) Civilising Rituals: Inside Public Art Museums Routledge, London
Daniel J Sherman & Irit Rogoff (eds.) (1994) Museum Culture, Histories, Discourses, Spectacles Routledge, London
David Boswell & Jessica Evans (eds.) (1999) Representing the Nation: A Reader. Histories, Heritage and Museums Routledge & the Open University, London
Eilean Hooper-Greenhill (1992) Museums and the Shaping of Knowledge Routledge, London
Giles Waterford (ed.) (1992) Palaces of Art, Art Galleries in Britain 1790-1990 Lund Humphries & Dulwich Picture Gallery, London
I Karp & S D Levine (1991) Exhibiting Cultures. The Poetics and Politics of Museum Display Routledge, London
John Elsner & Roger Cardinal (eds.) (1994) The Cultures of Collecting Reaktion Books, London
Louisa Buck & Philip Dodd (1991) Relative Values or What?s Art Worth? BBC Books, London
Moira Donald and Linda Hurcombe (eds) (2000) Gender and Material Culture in Historical Perspective MacMillan, London
Peter Vergo (ed.) (1989) The New Museology Reaktion Books, London
R. Lumley (ed.) (1989) The Museum Time Machine Methuen/Routledge, London
Ruth B Phillips and Christopher Steiner (1999) Unpacking Culture: Art and Commodity in Colonial and Post Colonial Worlds University of California Press,Berkley and London
Susan M Pearce (1994) Interpreting Objects and Collections Routlesge, London
Susan M Pearce (1992) Museums, Objects & Collections Leicester University Press, Leicester
Susan M Pearce (ed.), (1989) Museum Studies in Material Culture Leicester University Press
Susan Stewart (1993) On Longing, Narratives of the Miniature, the Gigantic, the Souvenir, the Collection Duke University Press, Durham & London


This module is at CQFW Level 4