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Collecting, curating and presenting: Practice and societal impact


Admission requirements

This course is available for students of the Honours College Humanities Lab.
Students in the first year of their bachelor’s programme who achieve good academic results and are very motivated, may apply for a place in Humanities Lab.


This course will introduce students to museums and collections as a research area and encourage them to question the collecting practices, curatorial motivations and representational trends of such institutions. Furthermore, the course will explore the societal impact of museums on both the exhibiting culture and the culture on exhibit. Students will be asked to consider the importance of objects for humans and what an object can mean for different people and in different contexts. The course is viewed as oscillating between materiality and representation. It will introduce the students to key concepts in the field of museum studies and in addition to the societal impact of recent ideas and practices.
Four lectures and two museum site visits will introduce students to the field of museum studies and confront them with the complexities of material culture research and representation. Each lecture will present the practical, psychological and philosophical aspects of collecting and museums, asking students to consider the issues for themselves. Students will work in groups on a project to produce a digital exhibition based on objects which they regard as important for local and civilizational histories. These projects will be presented during the final stages of the course.

Course objectives

  1. To introduce students to the field of museum studies and the various theoretical approaches to studying museums, collections and display.
  2. To encourage students to engage with museums and object collections in a critical and analytical manner.
  3. To provide students with an understanding of the potential for museum studies in a variety of different academic and non-academic areas.
  4. To support students in active discussion of the topics covered in this course.
  5. Student will learn analytical, debate and presentation skills.
  6. Students will work in groups to see a project through to its completion.


The timetables are available through MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction


Assessment method

Object choice and final exhibition project (50%)
Reflection report (40%)
Class participation (10%)


As shown above


Attendance is compulsory for all meetings (lectures, seminars, excursion). If you are unable to attend due to circumstances beyond your control, notify the lecturer and/ or the Humanities Lab coordinators in advance, providing a valid reason for your absence, and hand in your weekly assignment in writing to the lecturer (if applicable). Being absent without notification and valid reason may result in lower grades or exclusion from the course.


Resit possible for the reflection report.

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 have to be organized.

Reading list

Required reading
Peggy Levitt, Artifacts and Allegiances: How Museums Put the Nation and the World on Display (2015).
Pieter ter Keurs, ‘Collecting, A multi-layered phenomenon’, Museums, Collections and Society Yearbook (2020). (Available online)
Holly O’Farrell, ‘London goes Persian: The International Exhibition of Persian Art 1931 and the British Response, Museums, Collections and Society Yearbook (2020). (Available online)
Laurie Cosmo, “Defining Self by Collecting the Other: Mussolini’s Museums at the World’s Fair Site in EUR.” Visualizing Otherness in Modern Italy (XIX-XX Century), edited by Eva-Maria Troelenberg in collaboration with Melania Savino, Mitteilungen des Kunsthistorischen Institutes in Florenz, LIX. Band – 2017, Heft 1, pp. 125-147.


Students participating in this module will be enrolled in MyStudymap by the Education Administration Office of Humanities Lab. Students can register for the Humanities Lab modules about two to three weeks before the start of the module through an online form provided by Umail. On this form students indicate the modules in order of their preference. The coordinators assign students to a module based on their preference and bachelor’s programme, in order to create a diverse group of students and equal amount of students per module Usually students get assigned to the module of their first or second choice.
General information about MyStudymap is available on the website.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Huizinga


This course is part of the Humanities Lab programme, visit the website for more information.
Visit the Honours Academy website for more information about the Honours College.