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Museums in Practice


Module description

This independent research module provides you with the opportunity to investigate an issue in contemporary museum practice or provision. This could be related to your employment if you already work or volunteer in a museum or gallery.

Possible subjects include:

  • Exhibiting intangible culture
  • The collections management of sacred objects
  • The politics of labelling
  • The use of community focus groups in exhibition planning
  • Museum funding, and its inequities.
  • The aftermath of museum closure

You should situate your topic with respect to the academic literature on the subject and, if appropriate, the policy context. Given that museum studies do not always register the constraints of real-life practice (such as museums having insufficient funding or staff to instigate change), you may need to critically assess the mismatch between theory and practice.

You will be assigned a tutor who will supervise your essay, and present work-in-progress to the group for feedback as well as contributing to the discussion of other projects.

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • research and contextualise an aspect of museum provision in terms of current academic debates and museum policy
  • critically appraise the conjunction of museum theory and practice
  • reflect upon the professional culture and practices of a specific organisation
  • explore the constraints and opportunities involved in professional museum work (e.g. economic, political, ideological)
  • fuse original research with critical writing and context on the area.