Museum Studies at the University of Reading provides students with their first step towards a career in the heritage sector. Through academic studies and experience of professional museum environments and artefacts, you will develop the necessary skills to engage with a number of different museum careers and examine the theories behind museums and their role in society.
At the University of Reading, Museum Studies forms part of two undergraduate degrees: BA Museum Studies and Archaeology, or BA Museum and Classical Studies.
Our Museum Studies degrees teach the core skills of curatorship and explore how museums engage with their audiences. Over the course of three years, you will learn to think and research like a museum professional and gain a comprehensive understanding of the different processes involved in running a museum.
You will gain hands-on experience of working with museum objects alongside professional curators, conservationists and archivists from the University’s Museums and Special Collections Service. You willll be encouraged to research the environment that artefacts are displayed in, how objects are cared for and understood, and the meanings that they hold for different audiences.
You will be given expert guidance in developing your communication, research, presentation, teamwork and problem-solving skills, and receive the opportunity to gain hands-on experience at our three on-site museums: the Museum of English Rural Life, the Ure Museum of Greek Archaeology, and the Cole Museum of Zoology. There is also the opportunity to work with the University’s important botanical and geological collections, literary archives and major 20th century print and design collections.
Assessment is mainly coursework-based, combining research and writiting. Tasks are based on real-life scenarios such as researching and cataloguing objects, mounting displays and planning and evaluating museum events, which are supported and monitored through seminars and presentations.
You will also be able to gain first-hand experience of professional museum work, through volunteering, a placement module, and a final year exhibition project. In 2019, students produced an exhibition titled ‘Thinking Rationally?’ which explored how people made do with limited resources during wartime, and how we can learn from this experience in a time of increasing concern over sustainability.
Sessions are taught by Museum Studies specialists and practising museum professionals through varied teaching methods, including lectures, practicals, seminars and fieldwork.
Year groups are small (of up to 20 students) and there is an emphasis on developing team working and task management skills during all three years of your degree.
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