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Museums, Collections and Society


Admission requirements

  • Bachelor's degree obtained;

  • Admission to the Master Archaeology programme.


This course is deliberately planned in block one of the first semester to give MA students a sound, also theoretical, basis in Museum Studies, and to give them the instruments to tackle issues they will encounter later in the year.
The course will also give you helpful, even essential, tools to work with for the MA thesis.

Therefore the course is centred around some important concepts/subjects in museum theory and museum practices. Themes that will be discussed in depth are: museums and society, materiality, collecting, classification, representation, authenticity, the digital, ethics, and restitution. Issues of inclusion will be extensively discussed throughout the course.

Course set-up

The main set-up will be lectures, but during every lecture there will be ample time for discussions. If possible (depending on corona measures) there will also be one assignment based on a museum visit.

Course objectives

Introduction to some basic problems and issues in collection-based research and contemporary museum issues. These issues will be treated within a societal framework. A museum is not an isolated entity devoid of contemporary social and political reality (as was often thought until a few decades ago). Students should be made aware of this. And this attitude should further develop during the course. In addition, the students will be introduced to new challenging ways of museum and collection-based research.


  • Developing a sound critical attitude towards museums and collection-based activities;

  • Giving students a broad mindset, the basic concepts and tools to tackle cultural and museum issues, within a societal framework;

  • Training students in writing short papers (max. 2,000 words), developing sound arguments and using relevant literature.


Course schedule details can be found in the MA and MSc time schedule.

Mode of instruction

Lectures (or adapted versions of lectures, depending on corona measures, see above).

Due to COVID-19 measures in place, and depending on developments in the situation, the mode of instruction may change before or during the course.

Course load

  • 14 hours of lectures (1 ec);

  • 250 pages of literature (2 ec);

  • 2 paper assignments of 1 ec each (2 ec).

Assessment method

  • 2 papers of 1,800-2,000 words each. Each paper is worth 50% of the final grade.

Both results should be a pass. A retake of one paper, with a change of subject eg., is possible.
In the papers, the proper use of prescibed literature and correct citations/references will be checked.

All assessment deadlines (exams, retakes, paper deadlines etc.) can be found in the MA and MSc examination schedule.

Due to COVID-19 measures in place, and depending on developments in the situation, the assessment method may change before or during the course.

Reading list

To be announced.


Registration via uSis is mandatory.

  • The Administration Office will register all BA1 students for their tutorials (not lectures; register via uSis!).

  • BA2, BA3, MA/MSc and RMA/RMSc students are required to register for all lectures and tutorials well in time.

  • The Administration Office registers all students for their exams, students are not required to do this in uSis.

All information (costs, registration, entry requirements, etc.) for those who are interested in taking this course as a Contractstudent is on the Contractonderwijs Archeologie webpage (in Dutch).


For more information about this course, please contact dr. M.E. (Martin) Berger.


Compulsory attendance.