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Cultures of Collecting: Early Modern Cultures of Collecting


Admission requirements

See MA Arts and Culture program guide and Exam regulations.


This course is part of the MA specialization Museums and Collections, and will introduce students to the history and theory of early modern collections and collecting cultures. We will discuss key concepts such as “wonder” and “curiosity” and look at contemporary sources pertinent to research on collecting history. We will focus more particularly on the visual images of collections and their conceptual, historical and iconographical meanings and functions.

Course objectives

  • Students can demonstrate an understanding of the history and theory of early modern collecting;

  • Students will understand and trace the development in the visualisation of collections;

  • Students will be able to formulate a set of research questions and hypotheses on a chosen subject;

  • Students will present their research in both a presentation and research paper.


See the timetable on the Arts and Culture website.

Mode of instruction

Seminar meetings.

Attendance is compulsory. Students are allowed to miss a maximum of two seminars.

Assessment method

Presentation and paper (6000 words).


Blackboard will be used throughout this course.

Reading list

  • K. Park & L. Daston, Wonders and the Order of Nature Zone Books, MIT Press


Students are requested to register through uSis, the registration system of Leiden University for this course. General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch.

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

Students who are not in the MA Arts and Culture programme, but who would like to take this course as an optional course, please contact the Co-ordinator of studies.

Contact information

Dr. M. Keblusek


  • Early Modern Cultures of Collecting is a compulsory course for students who wish to specialise in Museums and Collections.