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Museums in Contemporary Societies



Bachelor year 2.

Admission requirements

Introduction to Heritage Studies obtained.


What is a museum? How can museums play significant social, environmental and political roles in society?
This course is concerned with how museums change, their diverse roles, and the ways in which they impact contemporary society. It provides an introduction to key ideas in museum studies, including collections, authenticity, representation, interpretation, learning methods and visitor experience, and an overview of new practices in collections and curating such as online museums and the role of digital media in museums.

The course explores current debates and challenges in museums, such as repatriation and restitution; communities, participation and museums; institutional partnerships and collaborative practices; migration and dialogue; and conflict and reconciliation.
The course incorporates museum visits where possible.

Set-up of the course

Introduction, lecture, tutorial, concluded with individual or group study.

Course objectives

  • Provide an overview and critical understanding of current issues and challenges for museums;

  • Provide a broad introduction to key ideas in museum studies;

  • To consider the influences that change museums as well as the ways in which museums influence and transform society.


Course schedule details can be found in the BA2 time schedule.

Mode of instruction

  • Lecture;

  • Tutorial;

  • Group discussion.

Course load

The course load will be distributed as follows:

  • 12 hours of lectures (1 ec);

  • 12 hours of tutorials/seminars (1 ec);

  • 200 pages of literature (1.5 ec);

  • Assignments (1.5 ec).

Assessment method

  • Assignments during the course (60%);

  • Final exam (40%).

There will be 1 final result. A pass of the average grade is sufficient. A retake is only possible for the final exam, not the assignments.

All exam dates (exams, retakes, paper deadlines etc.) can be found in the BA2 examination schedule.

Reading list

To be announced at the start of the course.


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.

Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Prospective students website for information on how to apply.


For more information about this course, please contact L. (Leandro) Matthews Cascon.


Compulsory attendance.