Universiteit Leiden

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Heritage and Museum Studies (MA)

Today, in many parts of the world, archaeologists are encountering diverse forms of cultural and environmental continuity. This living heritage of ours offers valuable opportunities for innovative research that may throw light on the meaning and function of archaeological artefacts and historic monuments, as well as landscapes with deep histories.

Heritage in society

Seen from an archaeological perspective and in so far as they are relevant to heritage management and modern museum practices, this master’s specialisation combines academic and practical aspects of cultural and landscape studies, politics, cultural theory and the environmental sciences. It focuses on the relationships between past and present, the role of heritage in our society, and how our heritage can contribute to improving the quality of life and the environment.

This fascinating journey will take you through current approaches and ethical issues and allows you to experience some of them in daily practice.

Modules for Heritage and Museum Studies

In this module you will trace the roots and developments of archaeological heritage management, on both land and under water.
You’ll also learn about current approaches and ethical issues and you’ll get to experience some of them in daily practice. Among the fascinating topics that you will be able to explore are international treaties and organisations, as well as issues such as ownership, values, stakeholders, repatriation, looting, and commercial archaeology.

The module also delves deeply into contemporary dilemmas of archaeological heritage management. These dilemmas relate to subjects that include public archaeology, site management, and the protection of heritage in conflict zones. And not only will you get to meet guest lecturers, you’ll be able to discuss with them the issues and quandaries that heritage managers face. And, of course, working with professional heritage managers will give you the ideal opportunity to broaden your network.

Reflections of the past in the present

This module represents a unique opportunity to explore several different approaches and issues in cultural politics and cultural theory, as these relate to modern heritage and museum practices from an archaeological perspective.

This module is particularly attractive, thanks to Leiden’s long-standing history and traditions in academic and museum work. Did you know that three large national museums (the National Museum of Antiquities, the Museum of Natural History, and the Museum of Ethnology) were founded in Leiden at the beginning of the 19th century?

Heritage and Museum practices and academic research have always gone hand-in-hand. Many of our research programmes involve researchers from the University and from Leiden’s museums. Additionally, these museums are becoming increasingly involved in ethical issues concerning the ownership and mobility of collections, as well as the actual politics of museums and collecting. The module’s unique combination of practical experience and high-quality academic research will present you with a dynamic, contemporary working environment that’s rooted in a 200-year-old tradition.

Programme structure

See the programme structure  for more information on how to integrate these modules into your master's programme.