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MCH8501: Museums, Galleries and Heritage in Society

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Susannah Eckersley
  • Lecturer: Professor Rhiannon Mason, Dr Joanne Sayner, Dr Bruce Davenport, Dr Areti Galani, Professor Christopher Whitehead, Mr Iain Wheeldon, Dr Emma Coffield, Dr Susannah Eckersley, Dr Katie Markham, external contributors from the sector
  • Owning School: Arts & Cultures
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


The aims of the module are to give students:

An intellectual framework for understanding past, present, and future roles and challenges for museums, art museums/galleries and heritage.

An introduction to, and intellectual framework for, understanding changes in the museums, art museums/galleries and heritage sector.

An introduction to the wide variety of contexts in which museums, art museums/galleries and heritage institutions operate.

An understanding of visitors/users and their engagement.

An introduction to issues relating to representation in art museums/galleries and heritage institutions.

Outline Of Syllabus

The module examines the histories, contemporary issues/ideas and future possibilities affecting the museums, art museums /galleries and heritage (MGH) sector in order to understand challenges and changes.

It aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the various intellectual, ethical, and practical contexts within which organisations in the sector are situated, along with the pressures, challenges, and opportunities they face.

The module is intended to be both generic and specific to the three programme areas of museum studies, curating art and global heritage. It achieves this by examining three key themes:

  1. MGH Trajectories - in which we explore the relationships between past, present and future
  2. People – in which we explore who visits/ doesn’t visit MGH sites and who is represented in their collections and wider work and
  3. Current Challenges – in which we explore the current and future challenges that influence developing strategies.

Indicative issues covered in the module include:

  • The origins and histories of MGH sites
  • the cultural and political contexts in which MGH sites function
  • values and ethics
  • who visits MGH sites?
  • who is represented by MGH sites?
  • what are the challenges imperatives facing MGH?

In addition, a fieldtrip will be scheduled.

Teaching Methods


Student Hours
Scheduled Learning And Teaching Activities Lecture 14 1:00 14:00 N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching Activities Small group teaching 11 1:00 11:00 Seminars
Scheduled Learning And Teaching Activities Workshops 1 2:00 2:00 N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching Activities Practical 1 1:00 1:00 N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching Activities Fieldwork 1 3:00 3:00 Trip with MCH8502
Guided Independent Study Independent study 1 78:00 78:00 independent reading, research and engagement with the intellectual and practical topics of the module
Guided Independent Study Directed research and reading 1 28:00 28:00 Preparation time for reading and research in advance of seminars, workshops, practicals and fieldwork trips.
Guided Independent Study Assessment preparation and completion 1 60:00 60:00 Time used to prepare and complete the module assessments, including reading, research and writing.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching Activities Module talk 3 1:00 3:00 Introductory module briefing, trip briefing, assessment briefing and module wrap up talk.
Total       200:00  


Teaching Rationale and Relationship

Lectures: Delivered on campus in order to develop students' knowledge on key issues and achieve knowledge learning outcomes.

Module talk: This teaching method will be used to introduce the module and brief students about assessments and field trips.

Small-group teaching: This teaching method is intended to allow students to consolidate knowledge learning outcomes and to meet the skills outcomes through critically applying their new knowledge. It also allows students to practice all of the skillsets within the Graduate Skills Framework.

Workshops & Practicals: This teaching method allows students to put into practice concepts and ideas introduced on the module.

Fieldwork: on-site activity (or virtual if required) to engage with a case study site that complements and relates to other teaching methods and helps students to achieve knowledge learning outcomes.

Guided Independent Study: This includes time that students should dedicate to preparing in advance for seminars, workshops, practical sessions and fieldwork trips, and for preparing and completing their assessments. It includes independent research and reading activities which enable students to independently deepen knowledge outcomes and to practise all skills outcomes, as well as applying cognitive/intellectual, self-management and interaction skills in particular.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment

DescriptionSemesterWhen SetPercentageComment
Essay 1 1 A 100 3,500 words, including a 100-word abstract but excluding list of reference


Formative Assessments

DescriptionSemesterWhen SetComment
Written Exercise 1 1 M Essay outline plan, 500 words

Assessment Rationale and Relationship

The module has been designed to introduce students to, and familiarise them with, the complexity and parameters of the field and its stakeholders.

The assignment is intended to give the student an opportunity to explore a specific set of issues in greater depth and to engage critically with the relevant literature. It also should help the student to 1) develop valuable skills of research, writing, and analysis, 2) recognise and evaluate different sources of information, and 3) build a solid foundation of knowledge in their area of interest.

Reading Lists

MCH8501's Reading List 


Timetable Website: