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2019/20 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

ARTF1048 Introduction to Museum and Art Gallery Studies

20 creditsClass Size: 50

Module manager: Dr Nick Cass

Taught: Semester 1 View Timetable

Year running 2019/20

Module replaces

ARTF1042 Museum and Country House Studies 2: Introduction to Museum Studies

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

Do you enjoy visiting museums and art galleries? Have you ever stopped to think about the role that these institutions and objects play in contemporary cultures? What relevance do they have for people today? Are they really 'part of our heritage' and, if so, what does this mean? What issues are involved in curating, displaying and viewing collections? This module offers you the opportunity to explore these and other questions through the consideration of recent theories and practices. Emphasis is placed practical study visits to local museums such as Leeds Art Gallery, The Henry Moore Institute, The Royal Armouries and Leeds Museum.


The module aims to introduce students to the history of the museum, and explore how this history impacts upon the operation of museums and galleries today. It introduces students to the key readings from museum studies and museology, as well as enabling students to understand ways of reading museum practice, including a consideration of interpretation and communication in museums and gallery contexts.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students should:
- have acquired a basic understanding of the museum in history and in the contemporary cultural marketplace
- be acquainted with key texts from the secondary literature of museology and museum history
- begin to develop an ability to analyse the current ideologies and methods which inform the presentation of objects to visitors in museums.
Through various visits, students will become familiar with the museums and galleries in the Leeds area and will learn to use them as examples in class, in essays, and in seminar papers. The module also aims to develop first year students' understanding of different teaching methods (e.g. lecture, seminar, visit), research and academic writing skills and develop their ability to discuss ideas in a seminar.


This module provides students with an introduction to art gallery and museum studies with a distinct focus on visiting local museums and art galleries. The module examines the social formation of museums from their development in the private collections of the 17th century to the present day. Museums are studied thematically and theoretically. Students consider key museological themes, including objects and meaning, communication and interpretation, education, curating and display, building a portfolio of knowledge that highlights different practical and ideological elements of museum work. Visits are made to local museums such as Leeds City Art Gallery, the Henry Moore Institute, the Royal Armouries and the Leeds Museum.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours180.00
Total Contact hours20.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Students are given an extensive reading-list, with suggestions for further readings. Students are expected to complete readings prior to each visit or lecture, and to develop a bibliography throughout the module that will feed into their essays. They are encouraged to make independent visits to museums and galleries to apply their learning. They are also given feedback on their critical analysis of key texts on the module reading-list through seminar discussions.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

In particular, the seminar sessions will be structured around the research tasks, enabling students to discuss and share their own work, and receive both staff and peer feedback.
Attendance at lectures and visits is compulsory and monitored.
The mid semester essay will provide an opportunity to check student progress.
The portfolio of research tasks underpins a ‘scaffolding’ approach to students’ final essay, allowing progress to be monitored through a sequential series of skill and research based tasks. Formative feedback will be given verbally during seminar sessions in response to research tasks and the peer group discussions.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1800 to 2000 word essay50.00
Essay1500 words20.00
PortfolioResearch Tasks30.00
Group DiscussionPeer Group Discussion0.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Research tasks will be discussed during seminars for formative feedback. To be submitted as a portfolio during week 11. Resit would comprise resubmission of failed elements. All assessed components must be passed in order to pass the module

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 30/04/2019


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