HART2274 Introduction to Museum and Curatorial Studies

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 2UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 2 option in the History of Art major sequence
  • Level 2 complementary unit in the Fine Arts major sequence
  • The area of knowledge for this unit is Design and Creative Arts
  • Category B broadening unit for students
  • Level 2 additional unit in the Fine Arts second major sequence
  • Level 2 elective
This unit offers an introduction to the world of collecting and curating art from historical, theoretical and practice-based perspectives. The evolution of modern-day museums and art galleries is traced to the early modern 'chamber of wonders' and the establishment of large national institutions, starting with the British Museum in the mid-eighteenth century. Key themes include how gallery displays reinforce the public's perception of canons of art or how they suggest the boundaries between fine art and ethnography? And what particular issues do Australian collections face today? In addition, students receive an introduction to aspect of collection management, from acquisition policies or exhibition design to museum education programs. Students receive the opportunity to label and hang objects in a model room, to critically explore aspects of current museological practice and to carry out research on these. Site visits to museums (including the Art Gallery of Western Australia, the Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery or the Berndt Museum of Anthropology) and other local collections constitute a major element of this unit, affording students a ‘look behind the scenes' and the possibility to acquire basic object handling skills.
Students are able to (1) address issues of display, dissemination and museology in interpreting art; (2) have an understanding of historical and cultural contexts of collecting and its impact on the history of art; (3) demonstrate oral communication and interpersonal skills; (4) synthesise visual and aesthetic analyses into broader discourses of collecting and curating; and (5) apply principles of argument in art historical discourse.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) short essay; (2) long essay; and (3) oral assessment. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit except in the case of a bachelor's pass degree student who has obtained a mark of 45 to 49 overall and is currently enrolled in this unit, and it is the only remaining unit that the student must pass in order to complete their course.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Susanne Meurer
Unit rules
HART1000 Great Moments in Art (formerly VISA1000)
HART1003 Ways of Seeing: Themes and Theories in Art
VISA2274 Introduction to Museum and Curatorial Studies
Contact hours
lectures: 2 hours per week; tutorials: 1 hour per week
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Books and other material wherever listed may be subject to change. Book lists relating to 'Preliminary reading', 'Recommended reading' and 'Textbooks' are, in most cases, available via the Booktopia Textbook Finder, which has the functionality to search by course code, course, ISBN and title, and may also be posted or available at the appropriate school's administrative offices. Where texts are listed in the unit description above, an asterisk (*) indicates that the book is available in paperback.