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Seminar BA2: Collecting in the Contemporary Museum


Admission requirements

Same as admission requirement for the BA Art History/BA Arts, Media and Society


This course will focus on the practice of collecting in the contemporary museum and how it has informed public and private museums of the 20th and 21st centuries. A broad range of collection categories will be considered against the backdrop of new museum types, buildings and exhibiting spaces, the art market, and institutional acquisition goals and their application, including but not limited to artist commissions, donations and restitutions. Theoretical questions about the value and significance of collections for museums and the public will be addressed, as well as issues related to future collecting practices at museums.

Course objectives

  • Students gain a broad understanding of the significance of collecting for the modern museum and the meanings museums attach to collections.

  • Students learn the variety of ways that collections are brought to museums and why.

  • Students learn the process of acquiring art and artifacts for museums and from whom.

  • Students gain a broad understanding about transactions and relations between collectors, museums and artists.

  • Students acquire basic knowledge about issues related to collection management at museums, such as provenance and rightful ownership, record keeping and market value.

  • Students gain a theoretical understanding of collecting and the knowledge to critically assess present and future collecting practices in museums.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of Instruction

  • workgroup

Important: attendance in seminar sessions and excursions is mandatory! In case of no-show, the tutor should be informed by e-mail about your absence and the reason prior to the actual seminar session. Moreover, this course cannot be successfully completed by students that were absent more than twice. Only in exceptional cases, the Examination Committee may consider the possibility of an additional or substitute assignment. See also the Course and Examination Regulations.

Assessment method


  • Midterm Reflective Essay

  • Final Exam


  • Midterm Reflective Essay (25%)

  • Final Exam (75%)


If the end grade is insufficient (5,4 or below) for either the Reflective Essay or Final Exam or both and together the weighted average of both assessments does not equal a passing grade (5,5 [rounded to a 6,0] or higher), it is possible to take a resit examination for the failed Reflective Essay and/or Final Exam.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will be organized.

Reading list

Readings will be posted on Brightspace.


Enrolment through MyStudyMap is mandatory.
General information about course and exam enrolment is available on the website

Registration À la carte education, Contract teaching and Exchange

Information for those interested in taking this course in context of À la carte education (without taking examinations), eg. about costs, registration and conditions.

Information for those interested in taking this course in context of Contract teaching (with taking examinations), eg. about costs, registration and conditions.
For the registration of exchange students contact Humanities International Office.