NEW: Collecting the World: Discovering Archaeological Museums and Collections

London's museums contain an unparalled wealth of artefacts and antiquities. Last year there were more than 30 million visits to admire these collections. But how much do we really know of the histories that brought these objects to our doorstep? What has been collected, why and by whom? How has it been exhibited in the past? What lies hidden in the vast stores and secret cupboards of London's museums? And what are we to make of demands for the return of certain objects? This course investigates the histories of archaeological collections from around the world. It explores world-famous institutions such as the British Museum and the Wellcome Collection, alongside more obscure, but no less fascinating, collections. Giving you the chance to consider the changing nature of the museum object, this course considers iconic art treasures alongside lesser-known, overlooked or more intimate items, some of which are rarely, if ever, displayed.

Who is this course for

This course requires a general interest in museums, archaeology, the world of objects and how we come to know them. There are no specific requirements other than these.

What does this course cover

Course Outline:
1. Collecting Ourselves: What's in a Collection?
2. Cabinets of Curiosity: The beginnings of the Museum
3. Sir Hans Sloane: Britain's Greatest Collector?
4. Classical Antiquities in the British Museum: The Parthenon Sculptures
5. The Great Divide: Producing the Archaeological Collection
6. The Secret Museum: Behind the scenes at the British Museum and Library
7. Knowing Things: The Many Museums of Pitt Rivers (and family)
8. Excavating Objects: Canon Greenwell's archaeology
9. Medicine Man: The Marvelous Medicine of Henry Wellcome
10. Excavating Objects: Freud's Collection
11. Modernizing Prehistory? The Collections of Alexander Keiller

What will it be like

There will be a combination of tutor presentation, discussion and feedback, group work and individual work.

What else do you need to buy or do

Pen and paper

What this course could lead to

This course could lead onto other Archaeology or Anthropology courses at the Mary Ward Centre or elsewhere or into Museum Studies or History courses

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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.’