Exhibiting Cultures

Please note: this is archived course information from 2020 for MUSEUMS 704.


This course offers an introduction to the history, theory and current debates in relation to museums and cultural heritage globally. The first semester focuses on Māori and indigenous engagement, with specific case studies drawn from Aotearoa New Zealand, Australia, the Pacific, the US and Canada through an examination of collections; curatorship; working with communities; exhibition and display; repatriation; human remains; and public programmes.

In the second semester we broaden out to 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.

Classes are taught on campus and in Tāne Nui a Rangi meeting house (on campus) as well as in Auckland Museum (both front and back of house).

To complete this course students must enrol in MUSEUMS 704 A and B, or MUSEUMS 704.


Coursework only both semesters

Availability 2020

Semester 1 and 2 (full year)


Lecturer(s) Dr Ngārino Ellis

Recommended Reading

Burcaw, George Ellis, Introduction to Museum Work. Walbut Creek: Altamira, 1997. 3rd ed.

Hakiwai, Arapata, "He Mana Taonga, He Mana Tangata: Māori Taonga and the Politics of Māori Tribal Identity and Development", PhD Thesis, Victoria University of Wellington, 2014.

Karp, Ivan, Exhibiting Cultures: The poetics and the politics of museum display. Washington DC: Smithsonian Institute, 2012.

Golding, Viv and Wayne Modest, eds., Museums and Communities: Curators, Collections and Collaboration. London and New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2013.

International Handbooks of Museum Studies. Four volumes. Chichester: John Wiley and Sons, 2015.

Lonetree, Amy, Decolonising Museums. Representing Native America in National and Tribal Museums. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2012.

 MacDonald, Sharon, ed., A Companion to Museum Studies.Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers, 2006.

Mithlo, Nancy Marie, ed., Manifestations: New Native Art Criticism.Santa Fe: Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, 2012.

Sleeper-Smith, Susan, ed., Contesting Knowledge. Museums and Indigenous Peoples. Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press, 2009.

Thomas, Nicholas, The Return of the Curiosity: What Museums are Good for in the Twenty-First Century. London: Reaktion Books, 2016.


MUSEUMS 704A: 15 points

MUSEUMS 704B: 15 points


ARTHIST 715, 721, 736, MUSEUMS 700, 701, 703, 705