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2023/24 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

ARTF1048 Introduction to Museum and Art Gallery Studies

20 creditsClass Size: 28

Module manager: Dr Nick Cass

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

Module replaces

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

This module is not 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, practices and controversies. Emphasis is placed on engaging with museums local to Leeds but other relevant examples may also be studied.


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 key readings from museum studies and museology, as well as enabling students to understand ways of analysing museum practice, including a consideration of interpretation and communication in museums and gallery contexts.
Through engaging with case study museums in a variety of ways, and visits where possible, students will become familiar with museum and gallery practice, and will learn to use the case study examples, in class and seminar discussions and in writing.

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.


This module provides students with an introduction to art gallery and museum studies with a focus on local museums and other relevant case studies. 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 a range of key museological themes, which can include objects and meaning, communication and interpretation, education, curating and display. The focus of this is to build a portfolio of knowledge that highlights different practical and ideological elements of museum work. Visits are made to local museums where possible, 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

Suggested private study includes:
- Set reading prior to each visit or lecture: 50 hours.
- Developing a bibliography that will feed into essay writing: 15 hours.
- Independent visits to museums and galleries to apply their learning: 10 hours.
- Seminar task preparation and other reflective learning approaches: 20 hours.
Independent reading and essay writing: 85 hours.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Formative feedback will be given verbally during seminar sessions and in response to research tasks and the peer group discussions.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1500 - 2000 words40.00
Essay2500 - 3000 words60.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Word count does not include footnotes or bibliography.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 28/04/2023 14:37:30


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