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  • MUSEUM STUDIES

Study Museum & Heritage Studies With Us

Museum and Heritage Studies at the University of Sydney will equip you with a contextual understanding of core historical and theoretical developments in museum and heritage studies. You will learn the frameworks for managing collections and sites and develop a practical understanding of the modes of interpretation used in the museum and heritage sector. This degree offers a Capstone and Elective options in Industry Internships in partnership with leading institutions and consultancies across Sydney and beyond. See the degree site today.


Internship at the Chau Chak Wing Museum


SEMESTER 1

Museums and Heritage History and Theory MHST6901 CORE UNIT

Dr Chiara O'Reilly and Dr Charlotte Feakins

The historical, cultural and social roles of museums, heritage places and collections are the focus of contemporary debate. This unit examines the relationships between the production of cultural material, its management and display, and audience to understand museum and heritage sites as places of knowledge, politics and power. Current critical and theoretical perspectives incorporate ideas about the production, consumption, contestation and conservation of intangible values, identities, memories, cultural practices and different knowledge systems.


Managing Collection and Heritage Sites MHST6903 CORE UNIT

Dr Alex Burchmore

How museum collections and heritage places are managed and listed is a core function of cultural institutions. From global contexts, such as World Heritage, to national, regional and local museum collections and heritage lists, understanding how objects and places are documented, assessed, and registered is important for both museum and heritage practice. This unit introduces students to the theories and practices of collection and heritage management through current issues in the development, policy and maintenance of cultural collections and places.


Ethics of Cultural Property MUSM7035 SELECTIVE UNIT

Dr Anna Lawrenson

This unit tracks the ethical and political disputes surrounding the ownership, control and care of cultural property. It begins by establishing historical attitudes towards cultural property which are then compared to current attempts to protect cultural heritage and regulate its movement. In doing so it considers how, more recently, museums have entered into dialogues with source communities about restitution and repatriation, new methods of display and ongoing relationships. The unit analyses numerous Australian and international case studies in order to define current models of best practice.


Museums and the Digital MUSM7036 SELECTIVE UNIT

Dr Alex Burchmore

This unit investigates the current use and adoption of digital media across the museum and gallery sectors internationally. It considers how museums use digital technologies to augment the visitor experience spatially, intellectually and socially by developing digitally interactive exhibitions, online engagement tools and a social media presence. Combining field trips, workshops, seminars and guest speakers, this course is an opportunity to build critical understanding of diverse applications of technology in the museum context and practical skills in the development of digital engagement programs.


Indigenous Museum and Heritage MHST6913 SELECTIVE UNIT

Dr Tristen Jones

Globally, Indigenous peoples have challenged museums, heritage agencies and professional practitioners over issues of ownership, control, management, display and interpretation of Indigenous culture, history and cultural property. We will examine how Indigenous communities, scholars and practitioners are decolonising museum and heritage practices and spaces.


SEMESTER 2

Museums and Heritage: Engaging Audiences MHST6902 CORE UNIT

Dr Alex Burchmore and Professor Annie Clarke

Presenting collections, objects and places to the public is a major focus for museums, galleries and heritage organisations. The development of interpretation strategies and public programs to engage, educate and entertain audiences are regarded as key to the long-term viability of cultural institutions. This unit examines the theories and practices of museum education, heritage interpretation, audience research, communication and learning. The development and delivery of education, interpretation and visitor programs are examined in case studies and through practical work.


Museums and Heritage: Objects and Places MHST6904 CORE UNIT

Dr Chiara O'Reilly and Dr Charlotte Feakins

Objects and heritage places (such as indigenous sites, historical buildings, parks, gardens, ruins, archaeological sites, memorials, cultural landscapes) can be studied from a range of multi-disciplinary approaches. In this unit students are introduced to different theoretical and methodological frameworks used in object and place analysis. Changing ideas about the roles and meanings of objects and places from historical, contemporary and cross-cultural perspectives will be introduced. Practical work and case studies will used to examine these issues.


Exhibition Development MUSM7030 SELECTIVE UNIT

Dr Anna Lawrenson

Understanding display practices in museums is central to the functions of these cultural institutions. This unit of study examines the way in which exhibitions may function by exploring current issues and debates associated with the practice of exhibiting. We will consider how different spaces inform the interpretation of the cultural material and information displayed. In particular, we will examine the issue of representation as it relates to the museum context. This unit of study will provide students with an overview of the intellectual discourses and practical knowledge used to analyse, conceptualise, propose and develop exhibitions.


Museum and Gallery Administration MUSM7030 SELECTIVE UNIT

Dr Anna Lawrenson

Good management is critical to the long-term survival of museums as vibrant cultural institutions. This unit of study explores the characteristics of a well managed facility providing students with the skills necessary to evaluate the operational context of museums, in terms of budget, human resource management and general cultural stewardship. The unit balances practical skill acquisition - in key management areas like strategic planning and project management - with a broader analysis of how the cultural sector is positioned in relation to government and other stakeholders.


Heritage Studies in Practice MHST6914 SELECTIVE UNIT

Dr Tristen Jones

In this class students will focus on developing practical skills in researching, interpreting, and communicating cultural heritage. Work in this class emphasises primary research that will contribute to interpretation of a place or a collection. It will involve working directly on cultural heritage in a collection or place-based fieldwork. Students will carry out original research that will contribute to interpretation of real world cultural heritage.





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