WEEK TWO: 21-25 July 2014

Course 11: Dr Jerzy Kierkuc-Bielinski
Cabinets of Wonder: A History of Museums in Britain


This course is now FULL

Museums are not, and never were, simple repositories of objects or histories. They are not neutral spaces, but play a central role in how we define ourselves as individuals, cultures and as nations. From the objects that they exhibit, through to their often extraordinary architecture, their formation, function and purpose have always been influenced by economic, political and social pressures. This course will look at the historical development of the modern museum or art gallery. This history will take us from the formation of cabinets of curiosities in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, to the magnificent royal collections of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and the great public institutions of the modern world we are familiar with today. Using specific, historical museums as case studies, and through a series of site visits, we will examine how the architecture of the museum, and the methods of display, as much as the extraordinary objects they showcase, create a rich network of aesthetic and historical meaning.