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MA Museums Studies

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  • Objectives
    Museums face an ever-widening gap between the care and preservation of collections and the increasing demands for public access and interpretation. This unique course addresses these challenges, offering new insights into modern methods of management and interpretation. Students will study collections presentation and curation, the challenges of contemporary collecting, modern interpretative methods, new technologies and virtual museums. This course combines the scientific requirements needed for the long-term care of collections, with their interpretation and use. It makes use of the wide range of museums and galleries in the Wessex area and has strong links to major museum institutions in which some of the teaching will take place.
  • Entry requirements
    Candidates may be graduates in a range of subjects including history, fine art, archaeology or heritage conservation or possess appropriate professional experience and qualifications. Those already embarked on a career in museums who wish to study part-time are particularly welcome to apply. Graduates from other disciplines will be considered and they should contact the Programme Administrator in the first instance.
  • Academic Title
    MA Museums Studies
  • Course description
    The course is one of many within the within the Archaeology and Historic Environment group in the School of Conservation Sciences. The School of Conservation Sciences provides excellent, theoretically informed, science-based teaching, research and consultancy relating to natural and cultural environments, resources and materials with a strong commitment to practical issues. Students benefit from our unique interdisciplinary environment, a great diversity of research, plus the support all our staff.

    Externally, special relationships, exchange agreements, and links with other institutions provide numerous opportunities for student contacts and personal research. The School has established connections with Museums in the South and West of England plus National Museums in London such as The Science Museum, The Victoria and Albert Museum and The Imperial War Museum. Additionally, current collaborations are with the Institute of Archaeology in Moscow State University, the Institute for History of Material Culture in St. Petersburg, Yerevan State University (Armenia), Artsak State University, Latvian University of Agriculture, Manx National Heritage, RCHME, English Heritage and English Nature.

    The School’s archeological interests range from Prehistory, Roman and Medieval through to artefacts and environmental archaeology.  Our research findings are integrated with our teaching. Our high quality research was rated 3A following the RAE assessment in Dec 2001and our teaching achieved an "Excellent" rating of 22/24 by the QAA.

    We have five areas within the Centre for Archaeology, Anthropology and Heritage:

    -Landscape, Townscape and Coastal Archaeology
    -Environmental Archaeology
    -Cultural Resource Management
    -Technology, Production and Ancient Materials
    -Forensic Archaeology and Anthropology


    Programme Content

    Meeting User Needs

    Contemporary Collecting

    Care and Management of Collections

    The Business of Museums

    Research Methods

    Personal and Team Management

    Interpretation and Display

    The Learning Process:

    Formal lectures, practical sessions and seminars will be delivered by the programme team and supplemented by specialist lectures by leading practitioners and academics. These will be supplemented by directed reading programmes and where appropriate, workplace experience which will enable students to gain the necessary knowledge and theory underpinning museum management issues.  Individual projects and group work processes are introduced throughout the units to allow students to develop individual and teamwork abilities.

    The course has a modular structure with eight taught units followed by a dissertation, which may be taken on a part-time basis (two years).

    For those already in museum or related employment (such as National Trust or English Heritage properties), the units may be taken individually or sequentially as part of a programme of Continuing Professional Development (CPD).

    Course units will be delivered in four-day blocks at three to four week intervals. Prior to the commencement of each unit, students will receive reading materials to assist with their preparation. Students will experience a wide range of learning modes and assessment procedures during the taught component of the course.

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