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CODICE 106726
LINGUA Inglese
PERIODO 2° Semestre


During this course, you will find the answers to these questions:

  • What is a museum?
  • What are its purposes?
  • How do we encounter and think about objects?
  • How and why do museums look after them?



The course aims to provide informatio on the museum concept, the museum's role in contemporary society and the practices associated to it, including curating, preservation, public programming, and education.


In this course we will explore some of the key fundamentals concerning museums and galleries. Beginning with an examination of various definitions of ‘the museum’, as well as the changes in these conceptions and perceptions over time, this course will discuss the role and involvement of key international museology institutions before focusing on the question of what and - crucially - who museums are for.

We will also consider some conservation aspects in terms of the materials, their characteristics and matters of preservation in the museum environment; we will focus on how museums both shape and are shaped by the diverse communities, and the wider social and cultural landscapes within which they are situated.

This course will explore and assess how wider agendas, policy and current museology have impacted and continue to impact on these institutions. Key themes relating to the analysis of the museum’s place in society - investigated by looking at museums’ history, and at changing ideas about them as sites of knowledge and education - lie at the heart of this course. The debate animating the contemporary museum discourse and practice (with reference to decolonising practice, museum ethics and the postdigital museum) will be addressed.

The student will be able to:

  • understand and explain the topics covered during the classes and in the bibliography texts;
  • remember the contents of the classes they attended and of the set bibliography they studied;
  • demonstrate that they possess the critical tools necessary for the analysis of what a museum is and what are its aims and purposes;
  • apply the acquired theoretical knowledge to concrete case studies.

Students are advised to attend at least two thirds of the classes.


B1 level in English, with adequate skills in listening comprehension.


Fourty hours divided into twenty classes (two hours each), face-to-face classes, PowerPoint presentations; field activities (visits to palaces, museums etc.).

In the first part of the course (Raffaella Bruzzone) seminars might be organized, where small groups of students will have to discuss and lead a debate on one of the readings from the bibliography. At the end of the first part of the course a practical workshop is scheduled, where students will have to produce something (a text, a leaflet etc) on a specific theme discussed during the module.

The second part of the module (Eliana Carrara) will be devoted to a focus on Genoese Museums (State Museums, City Museums, Private Museums): from local history and tradition on the display of painting collections and interiors to modern museology with a specific interest in the work of Franco Albini (1905-1977). Case studies on Palazzo Reale and Palazzo Rosso with guided tours of each museum. Students will have access to the collections, museums' departments for conservation and restoration, deposits; will learn how museums organize exhibitions, educational programs, communication, administration, restoration and maintenance; will talk to museum staff on topics such as museum organization, administration, accessibility security and safety, education and conservation.


Introduction to the history and the key elements of museums.

Topics covered:

  • The history and definition of museums
  • The social role of the museum
  • Museums and ‘decolonisation’
  • The educational role of the museum
  • Museums in social and cultural landscapes
  • The ‘postdigital’ museum
  • Museum conservation
  • Case studies

Programme for students attending classes (at least two third of lectures):

  • Notes from lectures; general texts;
  • One paper chosen from the list (see “Bibliography”)

Programme for students unable to attend classes:

  • General texts;
  • Three papers chosen from the list (see “Bibliography”)



  •  A. Desvallées and F. Mairesse (ed. by), “Key Concepts of Museology”, Paris, 2010.
  • L. Leoncini, Museo di Palazzo Reale. Genova. Guide, Genova (Tormena) 2019

Journal articles/papers:

  • P. Findlen, The Museum: Its Classical Etymology and Renaissance Genealogy, in Journal of the History of Collections, 1 (1), 1989, pp. 59-78;
  • O. Raggio, Collecting Nature in Genoa 1780-1870. From Aristocratic Patronage to Civic Patrimony, in Journal of the History of Collections, 10 (1), 1998, pp. 41-59;
  • I. Jenkins, The Elgin Marbles: Questions of Accuracy and Reliability, in International Journal of Cultural Property, 10 (1), 2001, pp. 55-69;
  • D. Preziosi, Art History and Museology: Rendering the Visible Legible, in S. Macdonald (ed. by), A Companion to Museum Studies, Oxford, 2006, pp. 50-63

The above-listed recommended bibliography is valid for all exams; further reading options might be suggested by the lecturers (as alternatives to the papers mentioned here) during classes.


Commissione d'esame


ELIANA CARRARA (Presidente Supplente)



Thursday 16th February 2023

Orari delle lezioni

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Calendario appelli

Dati Ora Luogo Tipologia Note
16/06/2023 10:30 GENOVA Orale
30/06/2023 10:30 GENOVA Orale
14/07/2023 10:30 GENOVA Orale
08/09/2023 10:30 GENOVA Orale