Contemporary approaches to museology, collections and the development of new museum paradigms

Teaching Staff: To be announced
Course Code: MUS000510
Field: Museology
Course Category: Specific Background
Course Type: Elective
Course Level: Undergraduate
Course Language: Greek
Delivery method: Face to face
Semester: 8th
Total Hours: 3
E Class Page:
Short Description:

Contemporary museums face challenges which lead to a radical review of museum philosophy and practice. Central to this process are the creation, display and dissemination of museum narratives, collection practices and the development of new approaches to the museum institution. The course will outline key aspects of these phenomena, will detect their theoretical bases and their practical applications.

Objectives - Learning Outcomes:

The course aims to familiarize students with contemporary museum theory and practice, new approaches to the museum institution and the concept of collectivism

Upon successful completion of the course, the student will be able to:

  • Understands the theoretical framework that underpins contemporary trends in museum practice
  • Know the new forms of museums developed internationally and understand the theoretical background that shapes them
  • Understands the complexity of the collection process and the ways in which it relates to modern trends in museum practice
  • Know contemporary interpretative approaches to museum narratives
  • Design an interpretative intervention based on contemporary approaches to museum practice

Week #1: Contemporary museum trends in museums: Introductory lesson. This introductory course will focus on exploring contemporary museological trends starting from the "new museology". Differences between traditional approaches and new ideas will be examined and major theoretical and practical issues emerging will be identified.

Week #2: Collectivism. We will explore the concepts of museum objects, collections and collections.

Week #3: New forms of collections. This lesson will focus on new forms of collections. Specific examples and their theoretical extensions will be presented and discussed.

Week #4 & #5: Contemporary approaches to the museum Experience. The subject of the courses is to present and discuss the concept of active and critical visitor and the importance of experience, constructivist learning theory, multiple intelligence theory and cultural communication model.

Week #6: The museum as a narrator: Objects, Implications & Authenticity. The museum is a narrator of the history of mankind and its environment. How are these narratives being constructed? Components and tools of storytelling and modern approaches to the understanding of objects will be explored. The concept of authenticity in the museum narrative will also be examined.

Week #7: The Museum as a theatrical stage. The exhibition as a narrative has many similarities to the theatrical practice. From this point of view, the meeting points of the museum and the theater will be studied, and the implications of this approach in the museum's functioning as well as the development of new museums will be discussed.

Week #8 & #9: Living history museums and museum theater. "Living history" museums are places where the museum narrative comes alive through the implementation of performing arts techniques and museum theater plays. Examples of "living history museums" will be explored as well as the forms, the basic tools and the methodology of developing a museum theater project.

Week #10: The "democratic" museum: theory and practice. We will look at the concept of the "democratic" museum and the museum practices oriented in this direction. What does the democratization of the museum mean? In what ways can the museum be a democratic institution and encourage similar processes?

Week #11: Stories not spoken, voices not heard. What do we call "difficult history"? What is the role of the museum in managing the "sensitive" past? In what ways do museums approach today 'difficult stories'?

Week #12: Museum and Society. The social dimensions of the museum institution will be examined and examples of exploiting its social dynamics will be studied.

Week #13: Visit to a museum. In what ways can local museums respond to modern museum trends? Through a visit to a city museum, we will look for alternative ways of telling and engaging the public with museum narratives.

Suggested Bibliography:
  • Axel, E & Feldman, K. 2014. Conclusion. Multisensory Art Museums and the experience of interconnection. Στο Levent, N. & Pascual-Leone A. (eds) 2014. The multisensory museum, Cross-disciplinary perspectives on Touch, Sound, Smell and Space, UK: Rowman & Littlefield. 351-360.
  • Βενιέρη, Φ. 2017. Μουσειακό θέατρο: Ιστορικές διαδρομές και σύγχρονες προσεγγίσεις. Διδακτορική διατριβή, Παν. Θεσσαλίας. Κεφ. 1, 2 και3
  • Casey, V. 2005, “Staging Meaning: Performance in the Modern Museum”. Τhe Drama Review, 49 (3), 78-95.
  • Jackson, A. & Kidd, J. 2008. Performance, Learning and Heritage: Research Report. Manchester: Centre for Applied Theatre Research, University of Manchester. On-line στη διεύθυνση:
  • Merriman, N. 1999. «Ανοίγοντας τα μουσεία στο κοινό». Αρχαιολογία και Τέχνες 72, 43-46.
  • Μούλιου, Μ. και Μπούνια, Α. 1999. «Μουσείο και Επικοινωνία». Αρχαιολογία και Τέχνες, 72, 42.
  • Νικονάνου, Ν (επιμ.) 2015. Μουσειακή μάθηση και εμπειρία στον 21ο αιώνα. [ηλεκτρ. βιβλ.] Αθήνα: Σύνδεσμος Ελληνικών Ακαδημαϊκών Βιβλιοθηκών. Διαθέσιμο στο:
  • Οικονόμου, Μ. 1999. «Μουσεία για τους ανθρώπους ή για τα αντικείμενα;» Αρχαιολογία και Τέχνες, 72, 50-55.
  • Pearce, S. 2002. Μουσεία, Αντικείμενα και Συλλογές. Θεσσαλονίκη: Εκδόσεις Βάνιας. Κεφ. 2 και 3.
  • Smith, L. 2011. “The ‘doing’ of heritage: heritage as performance”. Στο Jackson, A. & Kidd J.
  • Performing heritage: Research, practice and innovation in museum theatre and live interpretation. Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press. 69-81.
  • Vergo, P. 1989. Introduction. Στο Vergo, P. (ed.) The new museology, London, Reaktion Books LTD, 1-5.
  • Vergo, P. 1999. «Επανεξέταση της “Νέας Μουσειολογίας”». Αρχαιολογία και Τέχνες, 70, 50-52.
Teaching Methods:

The following teaching and learning methods will be used:

  • Lecture
  • Discussion
New Technologies:


Evaluation Methods:

Course evaluation of is based on:

  • A written essay (50%) and
  • The final exams (50%)

The active and positive participation in the course will also be taken into account.


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