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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 and what it has meant for the first modern museums that opened in the 18th century Age of Enlightenment to public and private museums of the present day. A broad range of collection types at museums around the world will be considered, including but not limited to princely collections made public, scientific collections acquired in the field, museum purchases made at auction or from art dealers, 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, both virtual and material.

Course objectives

  • Students gain a broad understanding of the significance of collecting for the modern museum.

  • 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 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


The weighted average of the (constituent) examinations must be at least 6.0 (= a pass).


A resit can be done for constituent examinations which are failed. All resits take place at the same time, after the final (constituent) examination.

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 My Studymap is mandatory.