The 21st Century Museum (EAS3245)

StaffProfessor Gabriella Giannachi - Convenor
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15
NQF Level6
Duration of Module Term 2: 11 weeks;

Module aims


This module aims to introduce you to the 21st century museum to foster a theoretical and practical understanding of a range of emergent museological practices. Through a combination of in-class discussion, readings, presentations, visits and lectures, as well as first-hand engagement with digital materials and social media, you will develop an understanding of this important and burgeoning field. Viewings and associated readings will exercise your ability to engage in sophisticated analyses and enable you to think about how ideas and concepts relate to and are framed by material practices. 


ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Interpret recent developments in museum practice in relation to theory drawn from relevant texts.
  • 2. Critically evaluate the dominant concepts, methods and debates informing recent developments in museum practice.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 3. Demonstrate an ability to interrelate texts, artworks, heritage, and discourses specific to a range of disciplines with issues in the wider context of museum practice
  • 4. Demonstrate an ability to understand and analyse theoretical ideas, and to apply these ideas to contexts pertaining to the museum sector.

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 5. Through essay writing and the practical presentation, demonstrate a basic capacity to construct a coherent, substantiated argument, and a capacity to write clear and correct prose.
  • 6. Through research for the presentation, demonstrate basic proficiency in research and bibliographical skills, information retrieval, analysis and sharing.

Syllabus plan


The module will consist of a series of lectures and seminars, including first-hand engagement with works of art, heritage and museological practices.




Syllabus (indicative):




Introduction to the course: the pre-history of the 21th century museum




Section 1: The interactive, participatory and augmented museum




Section 2: The museum on the web and the distributed museum




Section 3: The turn to performance, the gameful and personalized museum




Conclusion to the course: learning, preservation and curation in the future museum 


Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled 11Lectures
Scheduled 22Seminars - these will be led by the tutor. You will need to prepare for each seminar and work individually and in groups to present on given topics on a week to week basis
Scheduled 2Tutorial guidance for reading, research and essay preparation
Guided independent11Self-directed group presentation with tutorial guidance
Guided independent33Study group preparation and meetings
Guided independent70Seminar preparation (group and individual)
Guided independent164Reading, research and assessment preparation

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Critical analysis 500 words1-5Feedback sheet

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay503000 words1-5Feedback sheet with opportunity for tutorial follow-up
Group presentation2515-20 minutes, depending on size of groups1-7Feedback sheet with opportunity for tutorial follow-up
Individual analysis based on group presentation 251500 words1-7Feedback sheet with opportunity for tutorial follow-up

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
ESSAYESSAY1-5Refer/Defer period
PRESENTATIONIndividual PowerPoint presentation responding to the group presentation1-7Refer/Defer period
Individual analysisAs per original assessment but based on individual presentation1-7Refer/Defer period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic reading:


Bishop, C. (2006) Participation, London: Whitechapel and MIT Press.

Frieling, R. et al (2009) The Art of Participation, London and New York, and San Francisco: Thames and Hudson and SFMOMA.

Giannachi, G. (2016) Archive Everything: Mapping the Everyday, Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press.

Graham, B. and Cook, S. (2010) Rethinking Curating: Art After New Media, Cambridge, MA:

MIT Press.

Parry, R. (2007) Re-coding the Museum: Digital Heritage and the Technologies of Change, London and New York: Routledge.

Parry, R. (2010) Museums in a Digital Age, London: Taylor & Francis Ltd.

Simon, N. (2010) The Participatory Museum, Santa Cruz: Museum 2.0.


ELE – College to provide hyperlink to appropriate pages



Module has an active ELE page?


Available as distance learning?


Last revision date


Key words search

Interactive Museum; Digital Humanities; Art History; Visual Culture; Participatory Museum; Gameful design; Virtual and Mixed Reality; Digital Curation; Performance; Globalisation; Community