MUSEUM 7001 - Making a Museum

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2022

What is a museum? This course explores contemporary museum practice within global, national and local frameworks. It will chart the history and future of museums through a broad historical survey of the evolution of the museum, alongside a critical analysis of museum theory and curatorial practice. Using the South Australian Museum as key case study, students will have the unique opportunity to directly engage with the staff and collections of one of Australia's oldest and largest collecting institutions. This course blends history, theory, politics, and practical hands-on experience to ensure students gain a thorough understanding of museum practice today.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code MUSEUM 7001
    Course Making a Museum
    Coordinating Unit School of Humanities
    Term Semester 1
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 6
    Contact Up to 4 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange N
    Assessment Online Activities, Research Essay, Seminar Participation
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: John Carty

    Associate Professor Sally K. May
    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

    Mondays 9am-12pm
  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    1. Demonstrate a sound understanding of contemporary museum theory and curatorial practice;
    2. Identify and analyse relevant scholarship on current museology;
    3. Understand the nature of modern collections, their purpose and curation, in the context of contemporary museum theory and practice;
    4. Show an understanding of a range of intercultural issues in the area of modern Australian museum collections;
    5. Show proficiency in the use of a range of contemporary technologies to conduct research, communicate results and communicate with others.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)

    Attribute 1: Deep discipline knowledge and intellectual breadth

    Graduates have comprehensive knowledge and understanding of their subject area, the ability to engage with different traditions of thought, and the ability to apply their knowledge in practice including in multi-disciplinary or multi-professional contexts.

    1, 2, 3

    Attribute 2: Creative and critical thinking, and problem solving

    Graduates are effective problems-solvers, able to apply critical, creative and evidence-based thinking to conceive innovative responses to future challenges.

    2, 5

    Attribute 3: Teamwork and communication skills

    Graduates convey ideas and information effectively to a range of audiences for a variety of purposes and contribute in a positive and collaborative manner to achieving common goals.


    Attribute 5: Intercultural and ethical competency

    Graduates are responsible and effective global citizens whose personal values and practices are consistent with their roles as responsible members of society.


    Attribute 6: Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural competency

    Graduates have an understanding of, and respect for, Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander values, culture and knowledge.


    Attribute 7: Digital capabilities

    Graduates are well prepared for living, learning and working in a digital society.


    Attribute 8: Self-awareness and emotional intelligence

    Graduates are self-aware and reflective; they are flexible and resilient and have the capacity to accept and give constructive feedback; they act with integrity and take responsibility for their actions.

  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Relevant texts for class discussion will be available via Course Readings.
    Recommended Resources
    Readings will be made available via Course Readings.
    Online Learning
    Where possible lectures will be recorded and made available via MyUni.

    The classes will regularly involve hands-on activities and visits to museums/galleries and, as such, recordings will not be available.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    This course is taught via a 1 hour lecture immediately followed by a 2 hour workshop.

    Workshops will be highly interactive. They will focus on a range of key museum concepts and practices that are introduced via the lectures, online content and weekly readings. Some lectures and workshops will take place off campus at the nearby South Australian Museum and other cultural institutions.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    Directed learning
    1. 1 hour weekly lecture per week
    2. 2 hour weekly workshop per week
    3. Up to 1 hour of online activities per week

    Self-directed learning
    1. Up to 8 hours of reading per week
    2. Up to 7 hours of assignment preparation per week
    3. Up to 7 hours of research per week
    Learning Activities Summary
    The core teaching in the course will take place in the weekly seminars. Classes will generally begin with a 1 hour lecture followed by a 2 hour practical (hands-on workshop or visit to museum/gallery). There will be a range of themes covered in seminars and a schedule for each class will be made available via MyUni. Students are expected to attend the classes in person. Topics include:

    The global emergence of museums
    Collecting 'cultures'
    Histories of Australian museums and art galleries
    Curating with community
    Exhibition development
    Museums and social justice

    In addtion to the readings, a range of online materials will be made available for seminar preparation.
    Specific Course Requirements
    In order to complete the course students will have had to have attended and participated in 80% of the seminars.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary

    Assessment Task Due Weighting Learning Outcome
    Research essay/project

    Late Semester

    60% 1-5
    Online Activities scheduled throughout semester 30% 3-5
    Seminar Participation ongoing 10% 1-5
    Assessment Related Requirements
    In order to achieve the learning outcomes it is essential to attend and participate in the seminars. For this reason, attendance and participation comprise hurdle requirements for this course. Students are required to attend 80% of the seminars. Frequent absences, other than those on (documented) medical or compassionate grounds, are unacceptable.

    No work will be accepted in lieu of seminar attendance and participation.
    Assessment Detail
    Research essay/project 60%
    Learning outcomes: 1-5

    Online activities 30%
    Learning outcomes: 3-5

    Seminar participation 10%
    Learning outcomes: 1-5

    Further information on assignments will be available via MyUni.
    All assignments to be submitted electronically via MyUni.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
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