Theme Museums

Teaching Staff: Pavlogiannis Onoufrios-Spyridon
Course Code: MUS500
Field: Museology
Course Category: Specific Background
Course Type: Elective
Course Level: Undergraduate
Course Language: Greek
Delivery method: Face to face
Semester: 5th΄
Total Hours: 3
E Class Page:
Short Description:

The "Theme Museums" course is addressed to students of the 5th semester. The course approaches theme museums, which are a dynamic and modern category of museums. We study their historical evolution as well as their peculiarities through the study of characteristic cases. We put emphasis to theme museums within the Greek territory: local theme folklore museums, museums of special scientific interest (e.g. the Epigraphy Museum, the Numismatic Museum), the network of theme museums on crafts and industrial technology, etc. In order to understand the context of theme museums, we critically present and analyse their creation, structure, functions, and community engagement practices such as educational programs, cultural and scientific events.

Objectives - Learning Outcomes:

Upon successful completion of the course students are expected to:

  • be familiar with concepts related to theme museums as well as the historical and social context in which they appeared and developed.
  • understand the specificities of theme museums and their contrast to traditional museums, such as archaeological museums.
  • analyze established types of theme museums,
  • review theme museums of the Greek territory,
  • assess the functionality of theme museums regarding the choice of theme, museum experience and community engagement,
  • be in a position to propose the establishment of new (and upgrade of existing) theme museums in a variety of ways and means, such as the exploitation of new technologies, the development of educational programs and promotional activities.

Week #1: Introduction to Theme Museums (Ι): Course Overview, Concepts and Definitions, Historical Reflection on Thematic Museums, Social Developments and Changes in the way we Understand material culture in modernity and post-modernity, which led to the creation of Theme Museums.

Week #2: Introduction to Theme Museums (ΙΙ): Analysis of the concept of thematic. Distinction based on differentiation from established formulas. Monothematic, multi-media and cross-museums. Typical features of Theme Museums. 

Week #3: Typology of Theme Museums (Ι): Theme Folklore Museums.

Week #4: Typology of Theme Museums (ΙΙ): Greek (pre-) industrial cultural heritage. Theme Museums of themselves. PIOP Museum Network. 

Week #5: Typology of Theme Museums (IΙI): Eco-museums / Open-air museums

Week #6: Typology of Theme Museums (ΙV): City Museums

Week #7: Typology of Theme Museums (V): Museums of social groups, events and personalities. Biographies. Museums - Houses of important people. Recounting historical events in relation to historical space.

Week #8: Museum Visit – Group presentations assignment: Educational Visit to a Theme Museum in Corfu. Set up working groups to assign group presentations (see Assessment below).

Week #9: Structure and Operation of the Theme Museums: Architectural and Exhibition Issues of the Thematic Museums. Administration and other functions.

Week #10: Theme Museums & New Technologies: The impact of multimedia, interactive applications, lighting and sound design on museum experience. Multimedia as exhibits and as interpretative media. Special reference to planned museum soundscape and its operation.

Week #11: Theme Museums and Community Engagement (I): Presentation of various actions that can link museums to local communities and broaden goals and audiences. Participatory planning and visitor studies.

Week #12: Theme Museums and Community Engagement (II): Museum Education and Theme Museums. Educational role of the museum. Modern trends. Presentation of educational programs in Theme Museums.

Week #13: Group Presentations: Students group presentations (15-min presentation plus 5-10 minutes discussion).

Suggested Bibliography:
  • Bennett, T. 2006. The Birth of the Museum: History, theory, politics, London and New York: Routledge.
  • Candlin, F. 2012. “Independent Museums, Heritage, and the Shape of Museum Studies”, Museum and Society 10(1): 28-41.
  • Candlin, F. 2016. Micromuseology: an analysis of small independent museums, London and New York: Bloomsbury Academic.
  • Crooke, E. M. 2007. Museums and Community: Ideas, issues and challenges, London and New York: Routledge.
  • Falk, J. H., Dierking, L. D. 2000. Learning from Museums: Visitor Experiences and the Making of Meaning, New York: AltaMira Press.
  • Falk, J. H., Dierking, L. D. 2011. The Museum Experience, Walnut Creek CA: Left Coast Press Inc.
  • Frayne, N. 2004. “Acoustic Design in the Built Environment”, Soundscape: The Journal of Acoustic Ecology 5 (1): 15-9.
  • Haan, R. B.-d. 2006. “Re-staging Histories and Identities”, in S. Macdonald, ed., A Companion to Museum Studies, 186-197, Malden, Mass.; Oxford: Blackwell Publishing
  • Hein, G. 1998. Learning in the Museum, London: Routledge.
  • Hodder, I. (1986). Διαβάζοντας το Παρελθόν: Τρέχουσες Ερμηνευτικές Προσεγγίσεις στην Αρχαιολογία, Π. Μουτζουρίδης, Κ. Νικολέντζος και Μ. Τσούλη, μετ., Αθήνα: Εκδόσεις του Εικοστού Πρώτου 2002.
  • Hooper-Greenhill, E. 1994. “A New Communication Model for Museums”, in E. Hooper-Greenhill, ed., The Educational Role of the Museum, London: Routledge, 17-26.
  • Kistemaker, R. 2015, “A Museum without Walls: The City Museum in the 12st Century”, S. Alifragis, G. Papakonstantinou, C. Papasarantou (eds), Museums in Motion Symposium proceedings, 3-4 July 2015, University of Thessaly Press, Volos 2015.
  • Knappett, C. 2005. Thinking through Material Culture: An Interdisciplinary Perspective, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
  • Pearce, S. 2002. Μουσεία Αντικείμενα & Συλλογές, Λ. Γυιόκα, επιμ., Θεσσαλονίκη: Βάνιας.
  • Sandahl, J. 2015, “A City Museum as a platform for Cultural Participation”, S. Alifragis, G. Papakonstantinou, C. Papasarantou (eds), Museums in Motion Symposium proceedings, 3-4 July 2015, University of Thessaly Press, Volos 2015.
  • Zisiou, M. 2015, “Broadening the limits of the museum experience through designed sonic environment”, S. Alifragis, G. Papakonstantinou, C. Papasarantou (eds), Museums in Motion Symposium proceedings, 3-4 July 2015, University of Thessaly Press, Volos 2015.
  • Γλύκατζη-Ahrweiler, Ε. 2001. «Νέες Μορφές Μουσείων και παιδεία», Η μουσειολογία στον 21ο αιώνα: θεωρία και πράξη, Πρακτικά Διεθνούς Συμποσίου [Θεσσαλονίκη, 21-24 Νοεμβρίου 1997], επιμ. Μ. Σκάλτσα, Θεσσαλονίκη, Εντευκτήριο.
  • Κόκκινος, Γ., Αλεξάκη, Ε. (επιμ.) 2002. Διεπιστημονικές Προσεγγίσεις στη Μουσειακή Αγωγή, Αθήνα, Μεταίχμιο.
  • Μπακιρτζής, Κ. 2003. Επικοινωνία και Αγωγή, Αθήνα: Gutenberg.
  • Μπουμπάρης, Ν. 2006. «Η Πολιτισμική Παραγωγή του Ήχου και η ‘Ηχητική’ Παραγωγή του Πολιτισμού. Η Περίπτωση των Μουσείων», στο Τα Οπτικοακουστικά Μέσα ως Πολιτιστική Κληρονομιά και η Χρήση τους στα Μουσεία, Πρακτικά Γ’ Διεθνούς Συνεδρίου Μουσειολογίας (Μυτιλήνη, 5-8 Ιουνίου 2006).
  • Μπούνια, Α. 2005, «Τα Μουσεία ως Πολιτιστικές Βιομηχανίες, Θέματα και Προβληματισμοί – Μια Προκαταρκτική Συζήτηση», στο Ν. Βερνίκος, Σ. Δασκαλοπούλου, Φ. Μπαντιμαρούδης, Ν. Μπουμπάρης και Δ. Παπαγεωργίου επιμ., Πολιτιστικές Βιομηχανίες, Αθήνα: Κριτική, 9-58.
  • Νάκου, Ε. 2001. Μουσεία: Εμείς τα Πράγματα και ο Πολιτισμός: Από τη Σκοπιά της Θεωρίας του Υλικού Πολιτισμού, της Μουσειολογίας και της Μουσειοπαιδαγωγικής, Αθήνα: Νήσος.
  • Οικονόμου, Μ. 2003. Μουσείο: Αποθήκη ή Ζωντανός Οργανισμός: Μουσειολογικοί προβληματισμοί και ζητήματα, Αθήνα: Κριτική.
  • Σαλή-Παπασαλή, Α. 2012. Το Αχίλλειο της Κέρκυρας: Θεματικό μουσείο: Αποκατάσταση και αξιοποίηση ανακτορικού συγκροτήματος Αχιλλείου, Αθήνα: Μεταίχμιο.
  • Τζώνος, Π. 2007. Μουσείο και Νεωτερικότητα, Αθήνα: Παπασωτηρίου.
  • Χουρμουζιάδης, Γ. 1999. Λόγια από Χώμα, Σκόπελος: Νησίδες.
  • Χουρμουζιάδης, Γ. 2001. «Δισπηλιό Καστοριάς: Για μια νέα Μουσειολογία», Η μουσειολογία στον 21ο αιώνα: θεωρία και πράξη, Πρακτικά Διεθνούς Συμποσίου [Θεσσαλονίκη, 21-24 Νοεμβρίου 1997], επιμ. Μ. Σκάλτσα, Εντευκτήριο, Θεσσαλονίκη.
Teaching Methods:
  • Lecture with participatory discussion
  • Study material on e-learning platform
  • Case studies - discussion
  • Group work - presentation
  • Educational visit
New Technologies:


Evaluation Methods:
  • Group presentation (50%) - compulsory
  • Written assignment (50%) - compulsory
  • Reflective Journals - Optional action to evaluate the learning process


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