Accessibility statement

Museology & Curatorship

 Team taught


This module examines the museum, and in particular the temporary exhibition, as an institutional context in which works of art and architecture have been, and are, often produced, collected, displayed and interpreted.

The module offers the opportunity to evaluate the effect of the display context on the interpretation of works of art and architecture through firsthand experience at The Bowes Museum, The Hepworth Wakefield, and other local museums. On site we will engage with curators and other art world professionals working with both collections and exhibitions.

The module provides an enhanced understanding of art history as it operates beyond an academic context. It is assessed through a group project that uses the kind of tasks undertaken by museum professionals, as well as giving students some experience of the kind of group activity they might experience in a working environment.


By the end of the module, a student should:

  • have some understanding of the significance of the different ways in which art has been and is collected, housed, displayed and interpreted
  • have a greater awareness of the benefits and challenges of art historical field work
  • have some understanding of the range of art historical practice which takes place beyond the university
  • be able to work in a group

Preliminary Reading

  • Edward Alexander, Museums in Motion: An introduction to the history and function of museums (Nashville: Amercan Association for State and Local History, 1987)
  • John Elsner and Roger Cardinal eds., The Cultures of Collecting (London: Reaktion Books, 1994)
  • Eilean Hooper-Greenhill, Museums and the Shaping of Knowledge (London: 1992)
  • Marcia Pointon ed., Art Apart: Art institutions and ideology across England and North America (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1994)
  • Kim Sloan ed., Enlightenment: discovering the world in the eighteenth century (London: British Museum Press, 2003)
  • Adrian Tinniswood, The Polite Tourist: A history of country house visiting (London, 1998)
  • Peter Vergo ed., The New Museology (London, 1989)

Museology and Curatorship

Module code HOA00031I