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Museums, Heritage and Collections

Museums are powerful and influential institutions in their ability to shape knowledge and contribute to our identity. What we preserve and how we present our collections and heritage (and of course what we do not preserve and do not exhibit) is closely connected to our identity and culture.
In this Minor, students will become acquainted with the social and academic debates on museums, cultural heritage and collections. Many different types of museums and collections shall be discussed including art museums, (natural) history museums and ethnographical museums. Students will gain insight into the functions and challenges of these different types of museums and various exhibition concepts and gain an understanding of the pressing ethical issues connected to museums and heritage.
The Minor prepares the student for the MA Arts and Culture-specialisation ‘Museums and Collections’, but it is also relevant for students from many other disciplines interested in studying and/or working in the field of museums and cultural heritage.

Maximum number of participants: 2 × 25
Prospectus number: 5000MUSEAN
Class number: 1503
Language: English


Vak EC Semester 1 Semester 2

First semester

Museums, Cultural Heritage and Collections 10
Sources of Knowledge: Leiden University Libraries Special Collections 5 or 10

Bachelor students in Art History may register for the following course as an alternative to Museums, Cultural Heritage and Collections:

Werkcollege BA3 musea en collecties: Virtual Exhibition, The Lost Museum - Looting and Restitutions 10
Bachelor Stage Kunstgeschiedenis 10, 15 of

Second semester

Depending on your major please select up to 15 ects from our course list.

Choose 15 ECTS from the following list:

Curating Cultures 5
Seminar BA2 Visual Arts: Abstractie en modernisme in de beeldhouwkunst 1900-2016 10
Museums in Berlin (Excursion seminar) 5 or 10
Bachelor Stage Kunstgeschiedenis 10, 15 of
Holocaust Icons in Monuments, Arts, Film and Literature 5

More info

The fascinating field of museums is in constant flux. Controversial exhibitions can ignite heated social debates. Political and social developments throughout the world are changing the narratives in our museums. In this post-colonial, globalized era museums are challenged in their exhibitions and collection strategies to cater to both local and international communities.

The lecture series ‘Museums, Heritage and Collections’ (10ects) and the course ’Sources of Knowledge: Leiden University Libraries Special Collections’ (5ects) form the intellectual core of this Minor. These courses together provide for an academic reflection on the collecting, presenting, managing and preserving of cultural heritage and on the history and theory of museums and collections in national and international context. Students will also choose a number of courses in which they will gain more in-depth knowledge of certain aspects of the above issues according to their interests.

Further details

  • Admission requirements: same as admission requirements for the BA Art History

  • Audience: the minor Museums, Heritage and Collections is relevant for students interested in studying and/or working in the field of museums and cultural heritage.

  • Size: 30 ECTS spread either over one, or over two semesters.

  • Language: English (internships are usually in Dutch)

  • Number of participants: maximum is 2 × 25

  • Coordinator: Dr. M.A. (Nana) Leigh

  • See also: Keuzeruimte

  • Registration: from May 1st until August 15th 2016

    • Leiden University students register via uSis. Please note: you will have to register by entering the class numbers (‘studieactiviteit nummers’) for both the minor as a whole and the underlying courses of the minor.
    • Other students may send an e-mail to: