Exhibiting Cultures: International

Please note: this is archived course information from 2020 for MUSEUMS 700.


This course offers an introduction to the history, theory and current debates in relation to museums and cultural heritage. It will examine the origins of museums, their changing role and responsibilities before focusing on museums in the twenty-first century: new kinds of heritage (intangible and digital); management and conservation of collections today; exhibitions and interpretation; ethics and challenging exhibitions; and public programming. Case studies will be drawn from international practice.

Course objectives

On completing this course, students should be able to demonstrate knowledge and skills to:

  • Develop an understanding of the key writers in the field of museums and cultural heritage
  • Critically discuss key museums globally; exhibitions and collections
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the ongoing shifts in historical, political, institutional and cultural frameworks which have shaped, and continue to shape, museums and other cultural institutions

Learning objectives

Students will be assessed through their coursework on their ability to:

  • Research on a specific topic, using a range of methods and sources
  • Present orally and in written form with confidence about a specific research project which they have initiated
  • Develop skills in interdisciplinary thinking and the ability to apply theoretical ideas to case studies


Coursework only

View the course syllabus

Availability 2020

Semester 2


Coordinator(s) Dr Ngārino Ellis

Recommended Reading

Karp, Ivan, Exhibiting Cultures. The Poetics and Politics of Museum Display. Washington DC: Smithsonian Institute, 2012.

International Handbook of Museum Studies. Four volumes. Chichester, West Sussex, England: John Wiley & Sons Ltd, 2015.

MacDonald, Sharon, ed., A Companion to Museum Studies. Malden, M.A.: Blackwell Publishing, 2006.

Marstine, Janet, Introduction to New Museum Theory and Practice: An Introduction. Chichester, West Sussex, England: John Wiley & Sons Ltd, 2006.


MUSEUMS 700: 15 points


ARTHIST 715, 721, 736, MUSEUMS 701, 703, 704