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AHIS205 – Introduction to Museum Practice

2017 – S1 Day

General Information

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Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit Convenor
Andrew Simpson
Contact via andrew.simpson@mq.edu.au
Museum of Ancient Cultures
Wednesdays during semester 10am to 11am
Credit points Credit points
3
Prerequisites Prerequisites
12cp at 100 level or above
Corequisites Corequisites
Co-badged status Co-badged status
Unit description Unit description
This unit explores the history, role and function of museums in society. Students will be introduced to the diversity of museum practice framed within historic and contemporary museum theory with a focus on the preservation and interpretation of cultural and natural heritage. The role of curators and other museum staff in research, teaching, exhibitions, information management and community outreach is investigated. Students will gain practical experience in these areas through the integration of campus museums in the delivery of the unit.

Important Academic Dates

Information about important academic dates including deadlines for withdrawing from units are available at http://students.mq.edu.au/student_admin/enrolmentguide/academicdates/

Learning Outcomes

  1. Develop insights into the historic development of museums and their relationship to society including ethical contexts
  2. Understand the relationship between environmental conditions and collection type
  3. Understand the use of space in the design of museum buildings
  4. Develop an understanding of museum work flows and policies
  5. Develop skills in exhibition evaluation
  6. Develop skills in using critical information for museum documentation
  7. Understand documentation systems, registers and catalogues and their relationship to a variety of users
  8. Develop skills in recording observable, comparative and supplementary data into information systems
  9. Understand key museological issues in current museum work
  10. Develop creative capacity for working with objects in spaces

General Assessment Information

All assignments are to be submitted via iLearn (external and internal students) on or before the due date. Extensions for assignments can only be granted for medical reasons or on compassionate grounds. Without documentation (medical or counselling certificates) or prior staff approval, a penalty of 2% a day, including weekends, will be applied.  If required, applications for extensions should be made to your course convenor before the assignment's due date.

There is no final exam in AHIS205. The assessment for the unit is based on 2 major assignments and tutorial tasks (worksheets and other minor submitted work) and an assessment for tutorial participation. These are weighed as follows:-

•    Major Assignment 1 (Object Study)                    35% •    Major Assignment 2 (Exhibition proposal)            50% •    Tutorial tasks and Tutor assessment                  15%

The unit is structured so that lectures and tutorials build skills and encourage creativity for the major assignment tasks.

Assessment Tasks

Name Weighting Due
Object analysis 35% 07/4/2017
Exhibition proposal 50% 02/6/2017
Tasks and discussions 15% continuous assessment

Object analysis

Due: 07/4/2017
Weighting: 35%

Select a museum object or specimen of significance. This may be one you or your family owns (even the one used for the tutorial exercise during this unit), or it could be an object already in a museum collection.

Compile a detailed object description.  Ensure that you research this object or specimen thoroughly including a statement of why it is significant in a collection context. Descriptive text and discussion for this research project should not exceed 2000 words. There is no limit on the supporting material you submit with your research paper. Please ensure that all your sources are properly referenced.

This is a second year academic essay, and you are expected to reference appropriately.  Evidence of adequate research (in your written work and the research undertaken for it) is required to do well in this assignment. 

This assignment will be assessed on the following equally weighted criteria:-

1. Precision of the descriptive statement

2. The quality of the contextual research about the object

3. Validity and appropriate use of significance criteria in the research report.

4. Precision and consistency of references and clarity of expression.

 


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Understand the relationship between environmental conditions and collection type
  • Develop skills in using critical information for museum documentation
  • Understand documentation systems, registers and catalogues and their relationship to a variety of users
  • Develop skills in recording observable, comparative and supplementary data into information systems

Exhibition proposal

Due: 02/6/2017
Weighting: 50%

Develop an exhibition plan. Select a group of objects (at least 12) from a discipline of specific interest and formulate an exhibition plan for these objects. Draw a plan of your exhibition. Name your exhibition. Clearly outline the scope and purpose of the exhibition. Describe methods of displaying objects to best effect. Show examples of text and graphics for the display. Discuss which audiences the exhibition is developed for and note differences in display methodology for each. Discuss any educational package that might be associated with your exhibit if applicable. Text for the exhibition plan addressing the points above should not be any longer than 2000 words. There is no limit on supporting materials for your exhibition proposal eg. - examples of text and graphics, exhibition catalogue, exhibition promotional materials. Please ensure that all your sources are properly referenced. Note: We expect you will rely on the Unit Readings in part for some of your references as the basis of your research; you will then need to expand to further references to complete this assignment successfully.

This assignment will be assessed on the following equally weighted criteria:-

1. Creativity in the planning and naming of your exhibition

2. Concise explanations of the scope and purpose of the exhibition and clarity and persuasiveness of your arguments that support the exhibition proposal.

3. Clarity of your explanation of the proposed exhibition methodology and how it relates to different audiences.

4. Quality of supporting materials submitted.

5.Precision and consistency of references and clarity of expression.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Develop insights into the historic development of museums and their relationship to society including ethical contexts
  • Understand the use of space in the design of museum buildings
  • Develop skills in exhibition evaluation
  • Understand key museological issues in current museum work
  • Develop creative capacity for working with objects in spaces

Tasks and discussions

Due: continuous assessment
Weighting: 15%

During the unit there will be discussions on tutorial topics (on-line and during class time).  There will also be a small number of written exercises based on museum tasks that you will be asked to complete (both internal and external students). 15% of your overall mark will be a tutor's assessment of you work based on your level of participation in discussions (online and in person) and your ability to effectively complete small museum related procedural tasks in a timely fashion.

This assessment task will be evaluated on the following criteria:-

1. Successful and timely completion of minor tutorial tasks (to be submitted in class for internal students, through iLearn for external students).

2. Quality of contributions to tutorial discussions (through iLearn for external students, in class for internal students).


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Develop insights into the historic development of museums and their relationship to society including ethical contexts
  • Understand the relationship between environmental conditions and collection type
  • Develop an understanding of museum work flows and policies
  • Develop skills in exhibition evaluation
  • Understand documentation systems, registers and catalogues and their relationship to a variety of users
  • Develop skills in recording observable, comparative and supplementary data into information systems
  • Understand key museological issues in current museum work

Delivery and Resources

Lectures:   Wednesdays, 12:00pm – 2:00pm; Room W5C 220

Tutorials:   Wednesdays, 3 groups: 2:00pm - 3:00pm; 3:00pm - 4:00pm; 4:00pm - 5:00pm; all in the Museum of Ancient Cultures X5B 321.

 iLearn: Readings and other resource material for this unit will be made available for internal and external students on the iLearn site for AHIS205.                                                https://ilearn.mq.edu.au/login/MQ 

If the unit is not available to you on iLearn, please advise the unit convenor by email                        andrew.simpson@mq.edu.au

Social media sites:       

            Twitter:     @MuseumsAtMQ  @Wheres_Minmi     

            Facebook group    Museum Studies at Macquarie University             

    

Unit Schedule

 

Week

Wednesday Lectures: -

12:00pm - 2:00pm W5C 220  

Weekly readings: - supplied through iLearn (basic list only others TBA)

Wednesday Tutorials: -

2:00 - 3:00pm; 3:00 - 4:00pm or 4:00 - 5:00pm, Museum of Ancient Cultures or through iLearn for external students

Week 1

1 Mar

Lecture 1: Introduction to AHIS205, some general information about the unit

Lecture 2: "Everything is collected"

No readings this week

Introductions: who are we, why are we all here, who's seen a good exhibition recently and other universally important questions.

Week 2

8 Mar

 

Lecture 3: Structure of museums - "who does what in a museum?"

Lecture 4: Objects and object information

 Lewis (1992), Weil (1995) and maybe more!

An initial encounter with various objects - what do they tell us?

Week 3

15 Mar

Lecture 5: “A sense of space” - museum buildings

Lecture 6: Accessioning

Sweet (2002),

Introduce your object to everyone either in person or online        

 

Week 4

22 Mar

Lecture 7: An introduction to significance

Lecture 8: The condition of objects

Significance 2.0

Writing a condition report for your object

 

Week 5

29 Mar

Lecture 9: Natural history and social history museums

Lecture 10: A conservation primer

Booth (1998), Martin (1996 X2), Martin & Swift (1997)

Let's visit a natural history museum, did you know there is one on campus? Externals can you find one near you and report back?

Week 6

5 Apr

Lecture 11: Museums of art and culture

Lecture 12: An introduction to heritage

Museums Australia (1998), Heritage Collections Council (2000)

 First assignment due this week (Fri 7 Apr)

Let's visit a social history museum, did you know there is one on campus? Externals can you find one near you and report back?  

Week 7

12 Apr

Lectures 13 & 14  Guest lectures. Topics TBD

 TBD

Recess follows week 7

Tutorial topic TBD

 

Week 8

3 May

Lecture 15: Exhibition development - "Putting on a show" - part 1

Lecture 16: Exhibition development - "Putting on a show" - part 2

Keene (1996),

Tutorial on analyzing exhibition work

Week 9

10 May

Lecture 17: Copyright and related issues

Lecture 18: A primer on exhibition labels

Shenk (1998), MacLulich (2000)

Tutorial on exhibition labels

Week 10 

17 May

Lecture 19 & 20: Special guest lecturer, topics TBD

 

Kotler & Kotler (2000)

Tutorial topic TBD

Week 11

24 May

Lecture 21: Education programs and learning in museums

Lecture 22: Developing education programs in your museum

Edson & Dean

Tutorial, education programs in Macquarie University museums, let's check a few out (internals and externals)

Week 12 

31 May

Lecture 23: The on-line museum

Lecture 24: The future of collections

Sumption (2001), Fopp (1997)

  Assignment 2 due this week (Fri 2 Jun)

Tutorial, narrative in exhibition work

Week 13 

7 Jun

Lecture 25: Museology – what is it?

Lecture 26: Disruption and change at the museum

Weil (1995)

 

No formal tutorial this week – possible end of unit event to be advised

 

Policies and Procedures

Macquarie University policies and procedures are accessible from Policy Central. Students should be aware of the following policies in particular with regard to Learning and Teaching:

Academic Honesty Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/academic_honesty/policy.html

Assessment Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/assessment/policy_2016.html

Grade Appeal Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/gradeappeal/policy.html

Complaint Management Procedure for Students and Members of the Public http://www.mq.edu.au/policy/docs/complaint_management/procedure.html​

Disruption to Studies Policy http://www.mq.edu.au/policy/docs/disruption_studies/policy.html The Disruption to Studies Policy is effective from March 3 2014 and replaces the Special Consideration Policy.

In addition, a number of other policies can be found in the Learning and Teaching Category of Policy Central.

Student Code of Conduct

Macquarie University students have a responsibility to be familiar with the Student Code of Conduct: https://students.mq.edu.au/support/student_conduct/

Results

Results shown in iLearn, or released directly by your Unit Convenor, are not confirmed as they are subject to final approval by the University. Once approved, final results will be sent to your student email address and will be made available in eStudent. For more information visit ask.mq.edu.au.

Student Support

Macquarie University provides a range of support services for students. For details, visit http://students.mq.edu.au/support/

Learning Skills

Learning Skills (mq.edu.au/learningskills) provides academic writing resources and study strategies to improve your marks and take control of your study.

Student Enquiry Service

For all student enquiries, visit Student Connect at ask.mq.edu.au

Equity Support

Students with a disability are encouraged to contact the Disability Service who can provide appropriate help with any issues that arise during their studies.

IT Help

For help with University computer systems and technology, visit http://www.mq.edu.au/about_us/offices_and_units/information_technology/help/

When using the University's IT, you must adhere to the Acceptable Use of IT Resources Policy. The policy applies to all who connect to the MQ network including students.

Graduate Capabilities

Creative and Innovative

Our graduates will also be capable of creative thinking and of creating knowledge. They will be imaginative and open to experience and capable of innovation at work and in the community. We want them to be engaged in applying their critical, creative thinking.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcome

  • Develop creative capacity for working with objects in spaces

Assessment task

  • Exhibition proposal

Engaged and Ethical Local and Global citizens

As local citizens our graduates will be aware of indigenous perspectives and of the nation's historical context. They will be engaged with the challenges of contemporary society and with knowledge and ideas. We want our graduates to have respect for diversity, to be open-minded, sensitive to others and inclusive, and to be open to other cultures and perspectives: they should have a level of cultural literacy. Our graduates should be aware of disadvantage and social justice, and be willing to participate to help create a wiser and better society.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcome

  • Develop insights into the historic development of museums and their relationship to society including ethical contexts

Assessment task

  • Tasks and discussions

Socially and Environmentally Active and Responsible

We want our graduates to be aware of and have respect for self and others; to be able to work with others as a leader and a team player; to have a sense of connectedness with others and country; and to have a sense of mutual obligation. Our graduates should be informed and active participants in moving society towards sustainability.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Assessment task

  • Tasks and discussions

Commitment to Continuous Learning

Our graduates will have enquiring minds and a literate curiosity which will lead them to pursue knowledge for its own sake. They will continue to pursue learning in their careers and as they participate in the world. They will be capable of reflecting on their experiences and relationships with others and the environment, learning from them, and growing - personally, professionally and socially.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Assessment task

  • Tasks and discussions

Problem Solving and Research Capability

Our graduates should be capable of researching; of analysing, and interpreting and assessing data and information in various forms; of drawing connections across fields of knowledge; and they should be able to relate their knowledge to complex situations at work or in the world, in order to diagnose and solve problems. We want them to have the confidence to take the initiative in doing so, within an awareness of their own limitations.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcome

  • Understand the relationship between environmental conditions and collection type

Assessment task

  • Object analysis

Effective Communication

We want to develop in our students the ability to communicate and convey their views in forms effective with different audiences. We want our graduates to take with them the capability to read, listen, question, gather and evaluate information resources in a variety of formats, assess, write clearly, speak effectively, and to use visual communication and communication technologies as appropriate.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcome

  • Understand documentation systems, registers and catalogues and their relationship to a variety of users

Assessment tasks

  • Object analysis
  • Exhibition proposal
  • Tasks and discussions

Capable of Professional and Personal Judgement and Initiative

We want our graduates to have emotional intelligence and sound interpersonal skills and to demonstrate discernment and common sense in their professional and personal judgement. They will exercise initiative as needed. They will be capable of risk assessment, and be able to handle ambiguity and complexity, enabling them to be adaptable in diverse and changing environments.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcome

  • Develop an understanding of museum work flows and policies

Assessment tasks

  • Object analysis
  • Exhibition proposal
  • Tasks and discussions

Discipline Specific Knowledge and Skills

Our graduates will take with them the intellectual development, depth and breadth of knowledge, scholarly understanding, and specific subject content in their chosen fields to make them competent and confident in their subject or profession. They will be able to demonstrate, where relevant, professional technical competence and meet professional standards. They will be able to articulate the structure of knowledge of their discipline, be able to adapt discipline-specific knowledge to novel situations, and be able to contribute from their discipline to inter-disciplinary solutions to problems.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Understand the use of space in the design of museum buildings
  • Develop an understanding of museum work flows and policies
  • Develop skills in exhibition evaluation
  • Develop skills in using critical information for museum documentation
  • Develop skills in recording observable, comparative and supplementary data into information systems

Assessment tasks

  • Object analysis
  • Tasks and discussions

Critical, Analytical and Integrative Thinking

We want our graduates to be capable of reasoning, questioning and analysing, and to integrate and synthesise learning and knowledge from a range of sources and environments; to be able to critique constraints, assumptions and limitations; to be able to think independently and systemically in relation to scholarly activity, in the workplace, and in the world. We want them to have a level of scientific and information technology literacy.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Develop skills in exhibition evaluation
  • Understand key museological issues in current museum work

Assessment tasks

  • Object analysis
  • Exhibition proposal

Changes from Previous Offering

This is the second time AHIS 205 has been offered.  It is closely similar to our first offering last year. We welcome student feedback and will incorporate good ideas and suggestions in future offerings of the unit.