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Hands-on Museum Research Experience (ResMA)


Admission requirements

Admission to the MA Asian Studies (research) or another relevant Research MA. Students from other programmes are kindly referred to the course description of the regular MA course version of 10 EC or 5 EC.


Under the guidance of the lecturer, students do preparatory work for an exhibition, if possible an exhibition planned by Museum Volkenkunde in Leiden or Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. If no suitable exhibitions are being planned in these museums, we will work on a virtual exhibition or an exhibition plan. If no suitable exhibitions are being planned in these museums, we will work on a virtual exhibition or an exhibition plan. After an introduction into the museum and the theme of the exhibition, including an explanation by the curator of the exhibition, students work on finding and selecting materials and writing various types of museum texts, such as exhibition texts (label texts, panel texts) and catalogue texts (object descriptions and informative texts). They also review the work of their fellow students and make a 2-minute video on an object of their choice. Exhibitions to which students contributed previously are: The Buddha: from life story to source of inspiration (in Museum Volkenkunde and Tropenmuseum) and Asian Bronze (planned in Rijksmuseum Amsterdam). For this year’s theme: please contact the lecturer. Students who do the ResMA 10ec variant also write a research paper on a topic related to the exhibition. The course also includes museum excursions, if possible.

Course objectives

  • Practical museum research experience

  • Insight into the history of museum collections and the role of objects as cultural heritage

  • Advanced knowledge of and insight into Asian art and material culture in its cultural context

  • Academic skills to write descriptive and informative texts for a general public, to review other students’ texts, make a video presentation, and write an exhibition proposal


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

The deadline(s) in MyTimetable is/are set for administrative purposes only. The actual date(s) will be communicated by the lecturer(s) in Brightspace.

Mode of instruction


Attendance is compulsory for all sessions. Students must prepare well and contribute to in-class discussion. If a student cannot attend because of illness or misadventure, they should promptly inform the convener. Extra assignments may be set to make up for missed class time, at the convener’s discretion. Absence without notification may result in lower grades or exclusion from assessment components and a failing grade for the course.

Assessment method

Academic integrity

Students should familiarize themselves with the notion of academic integrity and the ways in which this plays out in their own work. A good place to start is this page. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. Students may not substantially reuse texts they have previously submitted in this or other courses. Minor overlap with previous work is allowed as long as it is duly noted in citation.

Students must submit their assignment(s) to Brightspace through Turnitin, so they can be checked for plagiarism. Submission via email is not accepted.

ChatGPT: What is possible and what is allowed? Dos and Don'ts.

Assessment and weighing

Partial Assessment Weighing
Mid-term assignment (1,500 words) 20%
Video (2 minutes) 10%
Catalogue texts (1,500 words) 20%
Research paper (4,000 words) 50%

The final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average. In order to pass the course, students need a pass mark (“voldoende”, i.e. “5.50” or higher for the course as a whole.

The research paper is written in two stages: a first version, on which the convener will offer feedback, and a final version. Feedback on the first version is conditional on this being handed in before the deadline. The grade will be determined on the basis of the final version only. (The paper deadline mentioned in uSis is for administrative purposes only. The actual date will be communicated by the convener.)

All categories of assessment must be completed in the same academic year. No partial marks can be carried over into following years.


Only if the total weighted average is 5.49 or lower, a re-sit is possible. The resit consists of the same partial assessments as the first opportunity.

Inspection and feedback

Feedback will be supplied primarily through Brightspace. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the assessment results, a review will be organized.

Reading list

A syllabus will be posted on Brightspace at the start of the course.

For the Research MA students additional reading will be determined by the convener at a later stage taking into account the students’ fields of interest. Extra sessions will be organized to discuss this extra literature.


Enrolment through MyStudyMap is mandatory.