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Practical Introduction to Collection Formation, Classification and Exhibition-making


Admission requirements

  • Bachelor Archaeology first year (propedeuse) obtained;

  • This is a seminar with a limited amount of participants (20 students), for Archaeology students exclusively.


Museum collections are heterogeneous assemblages, that were brought together in many different ways.
In this course, you will learn more about how collections are formed, how they are classified in museums, and the considerations involved in decision-making processes for exhibitions.

Special focus will lie on so-called ‘orphaned’ archaeological and ethnographic collections: those collections that are no longer cared for by curators and languish in storage without any form of attention by researchers and academics.

The course will include a practical assignment in which you will work with actual materials, attempting to ‘activate’ these collections by restoring their research potential, or finding creative ways to use them in future exhibitions. Questions of provenance and provenience will play an important role.
This combination of practical and theoretical study should prepare you for possible museum internships or educational work for a broad public, related to archaeological collections.

Course set-up

The course combines seven 2-hour lectures and discussion with an hour of practical collections-based work, every week.

Course objectives

  • Develop an understanding of collection formation processes;

  • Learn to recognise the different interest groups involved in exhibition making;

  • Understanding the methodologies and importance of provenance research;

  • Understand post-excavation work necessary to curate archaeological collections;

  • Gain a basic understanding of collection management.


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

Mode of instruction

  • Lecture;

  • Tutorial;

  • Assignments;

  • Readings.

Due to COVID-19 measures in place, the mode of instruction may change.

Course load

  • 14 hours of lectures (1 ec);

  • 7 hours of tutorial (0,5 ec);

  • 210 pages of readings (1,5 ec);

  • Class assignments/discussion (1 ec);

  • Final written assignment (1 ec).

Assessment method

  • Final written assignment (75%);

  • Weekly class assignments (25%).

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

Reading list

To be determined.


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.

  • Start registration for the BA2 seminars:
    Series 1: 14 September 2020, 07:00 hrs
    Series 2: 11 January 2021, 07:00 hrs
    Series 3: 22 February 2021, 07:00 hrs

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


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


Compulsory attendance.