Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2007-2008 (archived)

Module ARCH55230: Museum Communication

Department: Archaeology

ARCH55230: Museum Communication

Type Open Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Available in 2007/08 Module Cap


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • Familiarisation with theory and practice of museum communication issues.


  • In this module, students examine the concept of 'communication' in relation to museum collections, and gain an understanding of contemporary principles and good practice relating to museum communication. They visit and evaluate a variety of museums and galleries in the north-east of England. They also develop curatorial skills, working to professional standards and as part of a team, by creating a public exhibition over the summer. This work is accompanied by evaluations, the production of a catalogue, and educational events.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Contemporary principles, policies and good practice relating to museum communication.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Plan, research, design, document, develop, manage, produce, publicise and evaluate, accurately and honestly, either a new exhibition and catalogue of artefacts, information, interactive activities and events, or a plan for the re-display of an existing exhibition, selecting and using appropriate methods carefully, safely and accurately, and working to professional standards as a responsible team member, with reference to: an agreed exhibition theme; lessons learnt from previous exhibitions, evaluations and critical feedback; available resources (including people, budgeted finances, information, artefacts, equipment, site access and time); the conservation and security needs of the artefacts; the host institution (including its staff, policies and other functions); and the requirements of current and potential users (including access, education and leisure).
Key Skills:
  • Use computer and information technology (e.g. word processing).
  • Access library, museum, archive and World Wide Web resources.
  • Undertake advanced independent study, research and problem solving.
  • Participate responsibly in, and critically reflect upon, work in a defined role as a member of a team, both independently and alongside colleagues.
  • Communicate information and arguments effectively, in written, visual and computerised form, to both specialist and non-specialist audiences.
  • Take responsibility for personal, professional and ethical development within the museum and cultural heritage sector or within academia, responding actively to critical feedback.
  • Assess relevant insurance and health and safety risks in the work-place, and comply with appropriate procedures.
  • Cope with contingencies and make decisions in complex and unpredictable contexts.
  • Manage time effectively, working to time-tables and meeting deadlines.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 1 1 week 1 hour 1
Tutorials 12 weekly 1 hour 12
Seminars 8 weekly 1-2 hours 8
Fieldwork 4 4 weeks 3 hours 12
Preparation and Reading 267
Total 300

Summative Assessment

Component: Exhibition Work Component Weighting: 70%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Display, catalogue, educational events and evaluation 100%
Component: Exhibition Portfolio Component Weighting: 30%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Exhibition portfolio 2,000 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

20 minute seminar presentation on exhibition idea. Revised Exhibit proposal (1,000 words). List of photographic images. List of Exhibition items/objects.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University