Museum Studies: A Critical Perspective

Handbook

Dr Paul Basu - UCL, last updated: 20th January 2010

If you are interested in Museum Studies you should have a look at the UCL Handbook below which gives details and a reading list from their course: The Museum: Critical Perspectives.

Short description

This course aims to provide an introduction to the history and theory of museums. It does so by approaching the museum from a series of critical perspectives, considering the museum, in turn, as collection, as institution, as architecture, as exhibition, as site of memory, and as venue for social advocacy.

It explores these different conceptualisations of the museum by drawing on case examples which reflect a diversity of museum contexts, including art museums, ethnographic museums, natural history museums, social history museums, science museums, and so forth in different regional and cultural settings. The course considers the representational role of museums in nation building, and their entanglement in localising and globalising processes; it explores the museum's relationship to memory and commemoration; its social roles and responsibilities; and its extension into digital domains.

Building on a tradition of ‘critical museology', the course seeks to provoke students into questioning what a museum is and does, and what it can be. It seeks to provide the broader historical and theoretical context to enable students to engage critically with contemporary museum practice.

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