Available in 2022
Course code



10 units


3000 level

Course handbook


Through a dynamic series of lectures and site visits this course explores the history and the future of the museum (i.e. art galleries, social and natural history museums, contemporary art spaces). It will outline conventional and emerging practices within museums, (both public and commercial), along with the roles of curators, educators, exhibition management and conservation teams. Repatriation, digital cultural histories and audience engagement and in the 21st century museum.

This course will provide an excellent introduction to the role of museums and galleries for those wishing to work in the sector as exhibition managers, curators, creative directors, archivists, cultural managers, critics, arts educators or artists. It addresses the ethical and philosophical issues of these cultural institutions and provides practical experience in some essential industry tasks. It includes work-integrated learning (WIL) through engagement with the University of Newcastle’s collection and delivers behind-the-scenes look at into our arts industry partners.


Newcastle City Precinct

  • Semester 1 - 2022

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Identify, compare and analyse different museum models including historic contexts and conventions

2. Give examples of ethical, economic and philosophical issues facing the museum in the 21st century

3. Critique exhibitions, displays of art objects and material culture in the museum/gallery environment

4. Describe the role of cultural institutions in contemporary society and identify key stakeholders

5. Develop and write exhibition proposals, budgets, wall texts and/or curatorial briefs

6. Create simple documentation and condition reports of art/cultural objects including basic research and provenance

7. Plan audience engagement strategies and/or design public programs or educational resources


The following themes will be developed:

  1. History of the Western Museum including ‘Cabinets of Curiosity’
  2. Exhibiting Diversity: Ethics and Power Relations in the Museum
  3. Collectors, Collecting, Conservation and Provenance  
  4. Curatorial Strategies and Exhibition Development
  5. Structures of the Gallery/Museum System in Australia
  6. Architecture, Exhibition Design and Installation
  7. Grants, Prizes and Residencies
  8. Digital, Virtual and Interactive Technologies
  9. Funding Models, Partnerships and Philanthropy


To enrol in this course students must have successfully completed 60 units at the 1000 level.

Students must have successfully completed 60 units at 1000 level to enrol in this course.

Assessment items

Written Assignment: Essays / Written Assignments 40%

Professional Task: Catalogue worksheet 30%

Practical Demonstration: Set of exhibition labels or exhibition proposal 30%

Contact hours

Newcastle City Precinct


Face to Face On Campus 1 hour(s) per Week for 6 Weeks


Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for 6 Weeks starting in week 2

Weeks 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.