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The Australian National University

Centre for Heritage & Museum Studies

What is ‘Heritage and Museum Studies’?

Heritage and Museum Studies at the ANU draws together two related areas of study, cultural and natural heritage and museums and collections. These areas examine, contribute to, and theorise the processes by which heritage is produced and consumed.

This developing field of study recognises that heritage finds expression not only in material culture, but also in intangible cultural events and performances, and that heritage is intimately linked to expressions of identity, sense of place and the processes of remembering, forgetting and commemoration. It endeavours to expand understanding about the purposes for which heritage and museums have been employed by stakeholder and audience groups ranging from local communities or agencies, to state and national governments, and international policy frameworks. It develops an integrated understanding of the way heritage is managed and exhibited with critical explorations of the cultural and political work that heritage does in society.

Who are we and what do we do?

Heritage and museum studies is an interdisciplinary area of research and practice that brings together staff members within the School of Archaeology and Anthropology who are actively engaged in research and teaching across a range of areas and topics.

Staff have area expertise in diverse geographic regions including Australia, Europe, Malaysia, China, North and South America and the Pacific. Staff members’ research and teaching strengths include historical and contemporary Australian museum collections, Indigenous material culture, rock art, intangible heritage, historic and contact sites in Australia and the Asia-Pacific, memory and commemoration, including difficult heritage and sites of trauma, theorizations of the nature and experience of heritage and heritage practices, the international policy context and politics of national museums, cultural politics and the political cultures of globalisation, and theoretical ideas about the role of nation and changing conceptions of cultural identity and diversity.

General areas of study include heritage and museum public policy, heritage and collections management, interpretation and exhibition development, and the politics of nation, community and cultural diversity in relation to museums and heritage.

Find out more about researchers in heritage and museum studies at the School of Archaeology and Anthropology.

Updated: 3 February 2014/ Responsible Officer:  Head of School / Page Contact:  Web Publisher