Master Museum Studies at University College London

In 2008 I started the Master Museum Studies at University College London. At UCL museum studies is part of the Department of Archaeology so Museum Studies is looked at from a cultural heritage perspective rather than an art historical one. A big advantage of UCL is the museum collections. Especially the Egyptian and zoological museums are fabulous.

The year is divided in two parts where the first half consists of four mandatory courses; collections management and care, museum communication, managing museums and the museum: critical perspectives. The first three courses are more vocational and focus on the practical aspects of working in a museum. The fourth course continues in a way similar to UCU; more academic and focused on current issues in museum studies. I had to get used to looking at my studies from a practical perspective but it has turned out to be extremely valuable over the past couple of years.

I really enjoyed the second half of the year. I choose to do an exhibition project and I did a course in cultural heritage and development. In addition, I worked every Friday at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society Museum which was the placement that was part of the course. Getting hands-on experience was very useful and being in a small museum gave me the opportunity to assist with documenting, collections management and educational and outreach activities. I also loved the exhibition project; in a team of 12 people we made a travelling exhibition on a shipwreck. To create a beautiful and interesting exhibition with virtually nothing and achieve this with real teamwork was a very valuable experience.

Studying Museum Studies at UCL taught me an incredible amount and gave me a much clearer picture of where I want to go as a museum professional. I am really impressed by the way museums in the UK are conscious of the diversity of their audiences and try to include different groups. This is something I would like to continue with in my future career. Living in London is great and gives you access to many incredible museums and other cultural institutions. As a university UCL is well organised but the department of Archaeology is small enough to still get to know the staff and fellow students. I would recommend studying at UCL to anyone interested in working in museums or the cultural heritage sector.

Rosalie Hans (BA UCU, 2008; MA UCL 2009)