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Handbooks Courses Units

HYM4510 - History and the Museum

12 points, SCA Band 1, 0.250 EFTSL

Postgraduate Faculty of Arts

Leader: Seamus O'Hanlon


Not offered in 2008


This unit introduces ways in which understandings of the past inform policy and practice in contemporary museums. Using a range of history museums as case-studies the unit examines the historical origins and development of modern museums, both local and national; the challenges of presenting national history in a post-modern and post-colonial world; techniques of presenting the past, including textual, digital and dramatic forms; and tensions between the role of museums in education and tourism. Students will have opportunities to develop their skills in the application of history to museums, and to learn from museum professionals the tasks normally performed by historians in such settings.


Upon successful completion of this unit students will:

  1. Have been introduced to the history of the museum in a variety of national contexts.

  1. Be aware of the challenges facing museums in postmodern and post-colonial contexts.

  1. Have been introduced to basic practices of museology in a variety of contexts.

  1. Have been introduced to new media and communications technologies and their utility in museum practice.

  1. Have improved their oral and written communication skills, including for DE students, their electronic communication skills.


Review of museum or exhibition (2000 words): 20%
Proposal for, and design of, a museum exhibition (4500 words or equivalent): 50%
Reflective essay (2000 words): 20%
Seminar or discussion group participation: 10%

Contact hours

1 hour on-line discussion group or two hour seminar


Undergraduate degree with a major in history, or permission from the co-ordinator

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