SHE Level 5
SCQF Credit Points 10.00
ECTS Credit Points 5.00
Module Code MMV212059
Module Leader n/a
School Glasgow School for Business and Society
Subject History
  • B (January start)

Summary of Content

This module will introduce students to the theories of material culture. It will familiarize students with the management issues which relate to the formation, curation, documentation and exhibition of collections in heritage organisations. It will provide an understanding of good practice in preventative conservation, of exhibition design, and the storage and transport of collections.


The following areas will be covered:- The theories of material culture- Professional ethics- Objects as collections- Collaboration in collections development- Risk management and disaster planning- Caring for and preserving material collections- Documentation and research- Exhibition design and display

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the module students will be:- Able to define and understand the need for collections management and for a policy on collection, disposal and acquisition.- Able to understand the issues surrounding access (cultural, physical, intellectual).- Appreciate the risks involved with collections management and set in place disaster plans.- Familiar with the principles of conservation and restoration of objects and of their storage, handling, transport, labelling and security.- Familiar with the role of building design in preventative conservation and of the procedures for environmental monitoring and control.- Aware of research functions and documentation procedures.- Able to design, display and label exhibitions.

Teaching / Learning Strategy

Core themes will be presented through lectures, seminars and directed learning. Practical field trips, object handling sessions and invited speakers will form an important component of this module. Students will be expected to work in teams on an assessed piece of work designing and displaying a museum collection, and will submit an individual piece of written work assessing the experience of the process.

Indicative Reading

Kreps, C.F. (2003) Liberating Culture: Cross-cultural perspectives on museums, curation and heritage preservation, Routledge.Hooper-Greenhill, E. (2000) Museums and the Interpretation of Visual Culture, Routledge.Dean, D. (1996) Museum Exhibition: Theory and Practice, Routledge.Knell, S. (1994) Care of Collections, Routledge.Fahy, A. (ed.) (1994) Collections Management, Routledge.Bouquet, M. (ed.) (2001) Academic Anthropology and the Museum, Berghahn Books.Ashley-Smith, J. (1999) Risk Assessment for Object Conservation, Butterworth-Heinemann.Gosden, C. and Knowles, C. (2001) Material Culture and Colonial Change, Berg.Pearce, S. M. (ed.) (1997) Experiencing Material Culture in the Western World: Contemporary Issues in Material Culture, Leicester University Press.Pearce, S. M. (ed.) (1989) Museum Studies in Material Culture, Leicester University Press.Cassar, M. (1994) Environmental Management, Routledge.

Transferrable Skills

By the end of this module students will be able to show development in:- Exercising critical capacity, searching for information and evaluating reflectively on issues of material culture.- Team working- Making links between theory and practice- Reviewing and evaluating on learning and development

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Assessment (PT) 4.00
Independent Learning (FT) 68.00
Practicals (FT) 10.00
Lectures (FT) 12.00
Seminars (PT) 6.00
Independent Learning (PT) 68.00
Assessment (FT) 4.00
Lectures (PT) 12.00
Practicals (PT) 10.00
Seminars (FT) 6.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Coursework 0.00 50.00 50% 1500 words essay. Individual assessment of the design and display process
Coursework 0.00 50.00 50% working in teams, a simulation of the design and display of a museum collection