1. Handbook
  2. Subjects
  3. Interpreting Exhibitions

Interpreting Exhibitions (ACUR90005)

Graduate courseworkPoints: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

You’re viewing the 2019 Handbook:
Or view archived Handbooks


Year of offer2019
Subject levelGraduate coursework
Subject codeACUR90005
Semester 2
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

This subject will examine the various strategies employed by museums and galleries to frame the objects and ideas in their care and in order to communicate to the public about them. It will consider how these display strategies have changed over time, but its principal focus will nonetheless be on current exhibition and display settings, from contemporary art spaces to science and natural history museums. What is the best way - if any - to frame a particular exhibition? What sorts of communications messages should curators and exhibition designers seek to convey to museum and gallery visitors? How effectively do galleries and museums communicate their ideas? What role does the public have in engaging with the objects and ideas in museum and gallery display settings? These and other questions will be asked in order to critically interrogate the idea of the exhibition as a meeting point between the institution and the public and as a site of a charged dialogue of meaning between all the players in the exhibition circuit: from the institution, to the objects and/or ideas in the institution, and on to the public who comes to engage with them. On completion of the subject students should be able to apply a range of critical theoretical, art historical and museological approaches to the study of exhibitions and displays in historical and contemporary settings.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this subject, students should:

  • have an understanding of how objects and ideas are communicated to the public in museum and gallery displays;
  • be able to engage critically with a range of display strategies in varying display settings; and
  • have developed an appreciation for a range of museological, critical theory, and art historical approaches to studying exhibitions in museums and galleries.

Generic skills

At the completion of this subject, students should gain the following generic skills:

  • be able to conduct independent research using catalogued sources and bibliographical indexes;
  • have developed their ability to think creatively and express their ideas clearly in written communication; and
  • have developed their skills in verbal communication and oral presentation.

Last updated: 27 July 2019