Special Topics in Museum Studies: “Difficult” Heritages and Precarious Times


MSL2303H (Summer 2021, Summer 2020) — Special Topics in Museum Studies: “Difficult” Heritages and Precarious Times

This course delves into discussions surrounding “difficult” heritages, “dark” tourism and stories of conflict, pain and shame explored by museums, exhibitions, and historic sites. It also explores the role cultural institutions and sites play in times of conflict and uncertainty. Classes will be structured around a series of questions such as: What is heritage? Who gets to decide what will be memorialized? What are the socio-political contexts in which stories are told? Who are the audiences for this work? We will investigate evolving definitions as well as practices, ethics and ideologies of curating and collecting, learning, and leadership of spaces and places sharing histories of war, genocide, oppression, inequality and on-going threats to survival. We will approach topics with criticality, curiosity and empathy, working together to reflect upon museum and heritage professionals as not only stewards and storytellers, but also as active and powerful community builders and change agents.


MSL2303H (Winter 2021, Winter 2020, Winter 2019) — Special Topics in Museum Studies: The Digital Museum: From Strategy to Implementation (OSC)

This course explores the role of new and emerging digital technologies in the context of the museum experience. It is intended to provide students with the knowledge and skills to make informed decisions regarding the opportunities and challenges afforded by digital technology in the modern museum environment. From online to on-site digital experiences, students will investigate the impact of digital on museums and their value propositions, as well as explore the adoption of user-centred, multi-channel approaches to content creation and distribution. From digital strategy development to the practical aspects of project management and development of digital experiences, students will gain an overview of the processes related to the application of digital technology by museum professionals. This course will ask students to participate in the group development of a digital exhibit as its core focus, supported by readings, case studies, planning exercises, and guest speakers from related industries. This course is offered in partnership with the Ontario Science Centre.