Museum Studies – Exploring the Museum Experience

What is a museum? How has it been shaped over time? Is the museum changing in a digital world? Do museums still need objects? What is the difference between museums and collections? This course provides a stimulating and engaging context within which to explore your own experiences of museums, galleries and heritage sites. We will explore different approaches to museum visiting and examine the kinds of experience offered by contemporary museums in London and elsewhere. The histories of Londons world-famous museums will be unearthed, alongside its less well-known collections and extraordinary hidden gems. The course promotes the critical analysis of museum and heritage environments, encouraging students to reflect on their own learning as well as that of other visitors.

Who is this course for

The course is suitable for people who have already completed the Introduction to Archaeology course. You should have an open-minded and be prepared to contribute to discussion.

What does this course cover

What is a Museum?
The 'Critical Museum Visitor'
Cabinets of Curiosities: The British Museum
Collecting and Collection: The Horniman Museum and Gardens
Investigating Museum Architectures: Tate Britain and Tate Modern
Museum and Nationhood: The National Gallery
Representing Place: The Museum of London
Learning in the Museum: The Science Museum
Do Museums still need objects?
The Relational Museum: The Pitt Rivers (online collection)
Museum Futures

What will it be like

Small group tasks
Group discussion
At the start: small group tasks
On the course: small group tasks, Group discussion, 'post-it note' anonymous feedback session
At the end: small group tasks, individual feedback forms

What else do you need to buy or do

Core texts for this course include Andrea Witcomb's 'Re-Imagining the Museum' and Hilde Hein's 'The Museum in Transition: A philosophical persepective'. Ambrose and Paine's book 'Museum Basics' gives a good introduction to current museum practice. A range of interesting essays is supplied in Sharon Macdonald's 'Companion to Museum Studies' and Janet Marstine's 'New Museum Theory and Practice'. The free online journal 'Museum and Society' provides a range of up-to-date research articles debating current issues. Books can be obtained from UCL's Institute of Archaeology Library for a small charge.

What this course could lead to

Tutor to advise

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I've been to many Centres to study in London and the Mary Ward Centre is one of the nicest I've studied in.

MWC student

Got a Question about this Course?

Contact The Departmental Administrator.

Why come to Mary Ward Centre?

Mary Ward Centre is the adult education centre with a difference. We provide a wide range of subjects for people at all levels and run courses during the day, evening or weekend to suit your timetable.

Get inspired and enjoy excellent teaching in an environment where each individual’s learning experience is valued. That’s what makes Mary Ward Centre ‘the friendly place to learn.’