AIM736 - Museums, Heritage and Society

Unit details

Note: You are seeing the 2021 view of this unit information. These details may no longer be current. [Go to the current version]

2021 unit information

Important Update:

Unit delivery will continue to be provided in line with the most current COVIDSafe health guidelines. This may include a mix of on-campus and online activities. To find out how you are impacted, please check your unit sites for announcements and updates. Unit sites open one week prior to the start of each Trimester/Semester.

Thank you for your flexibility and commitment to studying with Deakin in 2021.

Last updated: 4 June 2021

Enrolment modes:

Trimester 1: Burwood (Melbourne), Cloud (online)

Trimester 2: Cloud (online)

Credit point(s):1
EFTSL value:0.125
Unit Chair:Trimester 1: Jonathan Sweet
Trimester 2: Virginie Rey


Incompatible with: AIM701, AIM721
Typical study commitment:

Students should plan to spend around 8-10 hours per week on the combined activities of reading, working through the exercises, library research and preparing assignments.

Scheduled learning activities - campus:

Students are required to attend 4-days of intensive classes during the trimester

Scheduled learning activities - cloud:

Online independent and collaborative learning activities equivalent to
1-hour per week, including a minimum of 1 scheduled online seminar each trimester


The use of the past in the present has become a key debate within contemporary society. Contestations over representations of the past by/in museums, critiques of the power of heritage to legitimate particular word views, debates about multiculturalism and social inclusion, all bring concerns over social/communal identity to the fore. Through concepts such as text, representation, and performance, the unit aims to explore the history and contemporary nature of heritage practices and institutions showing how we can apply theoretical concerns to the understanding and management of museums and cultural heritage. It introduces key definitions and ideas, many of which are explored in more detail in other units of the program. Central is the concept that 'cultural heritage' may apply to objects, places and traditions, whether managed by museums, national parks, urban planning schemes, tourism attractions or a host of other environments.

ULO These are the Learning Outcomes (ULO) for this unit. At the completion of this unit, successful students can: Deakin Graduate Learning Outcomes

Demonstrate an advanced understanding of the history of museum and heritage institutions

GLO1: Discipline-specific knowledge and capabilities


Critically analyse the politics and poetics of representations and apply these with creativity in professional practice, and communicate using digital technologies

GLO1: Discipline-specific knowledge and capabilities

GLO2: Communication

GLO3: Digital literacy

GLO5: Problem solving


Critically analyse and evaluate key concepts that reflect the interdisciplinary of the field

GLO1: Discipline-specific knowledge and capabilities

GLO4: Critical thinking


Critically reflect on the varied contexts in which heritage practices occur and the varied communities whom they represent

GLO4: Critical thinking

GLO8: Global citizenship

These Unit Learning Outcomes are applicable for all teaching periods throughout the year


Assessment Description Student output Grading and weighting
(% total mark for unit)
Indicative due week
Assessment 1 - Essay 2000 words 40% Week 6
Assessment 2 - Presentation 3000 words 60% Week 11

The assessment due weeks provided may change. The Unit Chair will clarify the exact assessment requirements, including the due date, at the start of the teaching period.

Learning Resource

The texts and reading list for the unit can be found on the University Library via AIM736 Note: Select the relevant trimester reading list. Please note that a future teaching period's reading list may not be available until a month prior to the start of that teaching period so you may wish to use the relevant trimester's prior year reading list as a guide only.


Essential Learning Resources

Carbonell, B.M. (2012) Museum Studies: an anthology of contexts, Chichester, John Wiley and Sons

Corsane, G. (ed) (2005) Heritage, Museums and Galleries, An Introductory Reader, London and New York, Routledge

Courtney, J. (ed) (2015) The legal guide for museum professionals, Rowman & Littlefield. (ebook)

Edson, G. (2016) Museum Ethics in Practice, Taylor and Francis. (ebook)

Gardner, J.B and Hamilton, P. (eds) (2017) The Oxford Handbook of Public History, Oxford University Press. (ebook)

Harrison, R. (2013) Heritage. Critical approaches, London and New York, Routledge

Knell, S. 2019 (ed) The contemporary museum: shaping museums for the global now, Routledge. (eBook)

MacDonald, S (ed)  A Companion to Museum Studies, Chichester, John Wiley and Sons

Smith, L. (2006) The Uses of Heritage, London and New York, Routledge. (e-book)

The materials for this unit are available online via CloudDeakin. Additional materials will be posted periodically during the trimester

Unit Fee Information

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