Universitat Internacional de Catalunya

The Museum and Its Meanings

The Museum and Its Meanings
First semester
Cultural analysis -identity and innovation-
Art, cultural heritage, and experience
Main language of instruction: Catalan

Teaching staff

Office hours will take place on Thursday from 9:00 to 10:00h


Throughout this subject we will carry out an analysis of museums and their roles in the context of today's society. Museums have evolved from institutions that preserve and exhibit works -collection containers - into centres where disclosure plays an increasingly important role among their activities. In this context, each museum's mission defines its position considering the nature of their collections and the goals of the museum. Also, we will draw a panorama of the museum and provide students with the tools to develop critical thinking.

Pre-course requirements

No pre-course requirements are needed to enrol in this subject, other than those of being a student of Humanities, having interest and concern for tangible and intangible heritage and rate heritage as a cultural expression as well as eagerness to learn and dissiminate heritage


- Know, identify and think about the role of museums in contemporary society.

- Identify and evaluate the elements of cultural heritage and, in particular, the museum collections.

- Understand the functions and tasks carried out by the officers of museums.

- Awareness of the legal framework of museums as well as the administrative structure in which public museums are integrated.

- Identify the discourse and museographic resources of permanent and temporary exhibitions.

- Analyse the diffusion activities of museums and reflect on their suitability in terms of public.


  • E07 - To acquire knowledge on the different issues and problems of current cultural debate and be aware of their constant change.
  • E18 - To acquire the perception and knowledge of the physical space in which human activity develops.
  • E23 - Ability to use computer resources and techniques to produce essays on cultural topics.
  • E24 - Ability to present the results of research project in accordance with the standards of each subject area.
  • E26 - Ability to read and write texts in one's own language and other languages, as well as transcribe, summarise and categorise pertinent information.
  • E30 - Ability to define cultural research topics which can contribute to the improvement and innovation of society.
  • E33 - Ability to relate concepts of heritage, homeland and cultural identity.
  • G07 - To know how to apply and adapt to new technologies in processes of cultural management, production and dissemination.
  • G09 - Creativity, inititiative and entrepreneurial spirit.
  • G10 - Management of ICT skills, organisation and information management.
  • G11 - Ability to work in an international context.

Learning outcomes

Students will have acquired the following learning outcomes

2. Performs analysis and diagnoses on heritage and museums issues / situations

7. Analyze educational programs for the dissemination of culture and / or heritage or museums

8. Know and select specific documentation about cultural experiences

9. Practice teamwork strategies

12. Participate in cultural and heritage discussions


  1. Introduction: What is a museum? Museology and museography. Key concepts in museology: cultural heritage, cultural good, collection.
  2. Legislation and international organisations.
  3. From collections to museums. History of the museums. Typologies of museums: history, art, archeology, science, ethnographic, nature.
  4. The functions of the museum: researchem conserve, exhibit and difussion. Documentation and research. Conservation. Exhibiitions: permanent and temporary exhibitions. Communication and difussion of museums.
  5. Museums manegement. The bilding

Teaching and learning activities

In person

The classes combine the theoretical analysis with the review of cases, texts and presentations of museums. They will encourage reflection and critical analysis of the exhibiting and dissimination of museums and heritage institutions based on visits and assignments.

Evaluation systems and criteria

In person

 The assessment will be done after 6 exercises that are:

1. Legislation workshop on heritage and museums - Presentation in class and paper delivery. 1 point
2. Work: visit and critical analysis of the  diffusion activities of a Catalan museum (groups 3). 2 points - 
3. Learning dossier (individual). 3,5 points 
4. Work: Design of an exhibition and program of activities (groups 2/3). 3,5 points. It will be exposed on the day of the exam: January 2020.

Exercise guidelines to deliver:
- Workshop on legislation. Exposure of current news related to the legislation on museums and heritage. Maximum 2 folios.
- Work Analysis of a museum. Work that will analyze a Catalan museum institution that will be visited by all members of the group. Analysis of: institution, exhibition collection, dissemination and management. Maximum 7 sheets (more photographs or other attached documents).
- Work - Proposed scope of a temporary exhibition. In pairs. Top 10 folios.

● 80 m2, space with white walls
● Exhibition: a minimum of 10 objects, a large poster of presentation, plus the 5 posters of the objects (you must write the text of all the posters), proposal of a title

- Learning dossier. Work in which the student presents a brief memory reflecting the learning process of the subject: essential contents of each subject, what they have contributed to the contents (concepts learned, work processes, critical spirit), personal opinion about the exercises and cases studied.
> Of these exercises, one of them must be presented in a different language to which you normally use (Catalan or Spanish)

Delivery dates
1. Legislation Workshop - 5 October
2. Work. Dissemination of museums - November 24
3. Learning Dossier - December 18th
4. Exhibition proposal - official exam date January



1. In this subject it is very inportant to make proper use of the language in written tests, papers and oral presentations, both from the point of view of grammar and spelling, and punctuation and wording. To make the proper use of terms specific to the discipline has a special relevance.

The criteria to be followed before any of these errors is as follows: the grade will be lowered by 0.25 for misspelling or incorrect words in essays and exams.

2 Plagiarism is taking the ideas written by another person and presenting them as if they were one's ideas, without citing the author. Plagiarism (the term comes from the Latin word for 'kidnapping') is misleading and dishonest. Examples of plagiarism: copying, paraphrasing or summarizing someone's words without properly citing the source and without the quotation marks are necessary when an appointment is made literal.

To avoid plagiarism, you must cite the source whenever ideas written by another person are used and although the quotation is not literal, paraphrase or summarize someone else's ideas. In the literal or direct quotations quotation marks must be used and cite the source. In an academic work, it is not sufficient to state generally the literature used, but one must explicitly mention the source where these ideas written by someone else.

Plagiarism in written work of this course is unacceptable and, therefore, any work in which plagiarism is committed will be evaluated with a zero.

Bibliography and resources

ALONSO FERNÁNDEZ, Luis. Museología y museografía. Barcelona: Ediciones del Serbal, 1999

ALONSO FERNÁNDEZ, Luis y GARCÍA FERNÁNDEZ, Isabel. Diseño de exposiciones. Concepto, instalación y montaje. Madrid: Alianza editorial, 2010.

BALLART HERNÁNDEZ, Josep. Manual de museos. Madrid: Editorila Síntesis, 2008.

BARKER, Emma. Contemporary Cultures of Display. Yale University Press, New Haven & London, 1999.

BELCHER, M. Organización y diseño de exposiciones. Su relación con el museo. Gijón: TREA, 1997 (1994).

BELLIDO GANT, María Luisa. Arte, museos y nuevas tecnologías. Gijón. Ed. Trea. 2001. (Biblioteconomía y administración cultural, 53).

BOLAÑOS, María, Historia de los museos en España. Gijón, Editorial Trea, 1997.

-----, La memoria del mundo. Cien años e museología (1900-2000), Gijón, Ediciones Trea, 2002.

CARRERAS MONFORT, Cèsar i MUNILLA CABRILLANA, Glòria. Patrimoni digital. Barcelona: editorial UOC, 2007.

GÓMEZ MARTÍNEZ, Javier. Dos museologías. Las tradiciones anglosajona y mediterránea: diferencias y contactos. Gijón. Ed. Trea. 2008 (Biblioteconomía y administración cultural, 141). (poden ser interessants els dos capítols últims: p 279-315).

HERNÁNDEZ HERNÁNDEZ, M. Francisca. El museo como espacio de comunicación. Gijón. Ed. Trea. 1998 (Biblioteconomía y administración cultural, 16).

HOOPER-GREENHILL, Eilean. Los museos y sus visitantes. Gijón, Editorial Trea, 1998 (1994) (Biblioteconomía y administración cultural, 17).

LORD, Barry y LORD, Gail Dexter, Manual de gestión de museos. Editorial Ariel, Colección Patrimonio Histórico, Barcelona, 1998.

MOORE, Kevin. La gestión del museo. Gijón. Ed. Trea. 1998 (1994) (Biblioteconomía y administración cultural, 19).

Museología crítica y arte contemporáneo (Jesús-Pedro Lorente, dir, y David Almazán, coord). Zaragoza, Prensas Universitarias de Zaragoza, 2003.

Museum studies. An Anthology of Contexts (ed. Bettina Messias Carbonell). Blackwell publisching, 2004.

Museum visitor servives manual (ed. Roxana Adams). New York, American Association of Museums, 2001.

Museus d’avui. Els nous museus de societat (ed. Gabriel Alcalde, Jusèp Boya, Xavier Roigé). Girona: Institut Català de Recerca del Patrimoni Cultural. 2010.

PEARCE, Susan M. Museus, Objects and Collections. A Cultural Study. London, 1992.

PÉREZ VALENCIA, Paco. Tener un buen plan. La hoja de ruta de toda colección: el plan museológico. Gijón. Ed. Trea. 2010 (Biblioteconomía y administración cultural, 213).

PEÑUELAS, Lluís (ed.). Manual jurídic dels museus: qüestions pràctiques. Barcelona: Diputació de Barcelona; Marcial Pons, ediciones jurídicas y sociales, 1998.

RICO, Juan Carlos (coord.). La caja de cristal. Un nuevo modelo de museo. Gijón. Ed. Trea. 2008 (Biblioteconomía y administración cultural, 181).

RICO, Juan Carlos. La difícil supervivencia de los museos. Gijón. Ed. Trea. 2003 (Biblioteconomía y administración cultural, 86).

RICO, Juan Carlos. La exposición comercial. Tiendas y escaparatismo, stands y ferias, grandes almacenes y superficies. Gijón. Ed. Trea. 2005 (Biblioteconomía y administración cultural, 124).

RIVIÈRE, Georges Henri. La museología. Curso de museología. Textos y testimonios. Madrid: Akal, 1993 (1989).

SANTACANA, Joan y SERRAT, Núria, Museografía Didáctica. Barcelona: Ariel, 2005.

VV.AA. Exposiciones temporales. Organización, gestión, coordinación. Madrid: Subdirección General de Publicaciones, Información y Documentación, Madrid, 2006.

ZUBIAUR, Javier. Curso de museología. Gijón. Ed. Trea. 2004 (Biblioteconomía y administración cultural, 103).

Teaching and learning material