Course Title: Let's Look at Museums (Study Tour to Paris and Nice)

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Let's Look at Museums (Study Tour to Paris and Nice)

Credit Points: 12

Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


345H Media and Communication


Sem 1 2006,
Sem 1 2008,
Sem 2 2008,
Sem 1 2009,
Sem 2 2009,
Sem 1 2011

Course Coordinator: Alex Syndikas

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 3805

Course Coordinator

Course Coordinator Location: Building 36 Level 2 Room 04

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities


Course Description

This international study tour is to provide you with an exciting alternative to traditional classroom based learning. It will provide you with first hand experience of the shaping of knowledge through the function of Museums in today’s society.

The course encourages you to develop oral skills for the discussion of visual forms as well as develop skills in essay writing relevant to the discipline. You will be given the opportunity to work in teams and select an area of study relevant to the course as your assessment project. Further discussions will also be conducted throughout the study tour, which will lead to problem solving, debate and presentation of a well-researched response.

Whilst in France, you will visit a number of major museums and will include tutorials by your team leader on issues related to contemporary museum design, collection management, rotation of exhibits and showcases. You will have the opportunity to observe how museums are actively recorganising their spaces in order to present themselves as environments for self-directed learning based on experiences. Critical reviews of past and current practices will provide you with a valuable source of references to show you how context has determined the interpretation of objects.

Visit the course web site for more information and date of departure:

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

In completing this course, you will have:

  • a better understanding towards the function of museums today and become a more critical observer of works of art.
  • engaged constructively in discussions with ethical and theoretical concerns in cleaning, restoration and conservation of works of art.
  • an opportunity to follow the paths where some of the great artists lived and worked.
  • Identified the materials and techniques used in painting, sculpture and ‘works on paper’.
  • an appreciation of world-renowned museums, monuments, famous landmarks and ultra contemporary architectural buildings in both Paris and Nice.

Overview of Learning Activities

The following planned learning activities will be included in the course prior to departure:

  • several group interaction and discussion classes will be conducted to give an overview of the architecture of the museums, monuments and places of interest  you will be visiting whilst on tour
  • class activities based on past and current practices of major museums
  • DVD viewings on art collections, painters/sculptors, photographers and architects
Whilst on tour in France:

  • daily visits to museums and presentations by authoritative members within the museum establishment
  • group participation, debates and discussions to enable you to contribute and share your experiences and resources
  • support material gathered from the museum visits
  • workshops, readings and informed observations by your study tour leader

You are expected to actively contribute to class discussions whilst on locations in France and to show your understanding of the issues that were raised during the initial class sessions held back at RMIT prior to departure. You are encouraged to participate in an informed way in discourse and debate and to work collaboratively. After the study tour in France, you will engage in online activity such as a blog, and will have opportunity for consultation with the lecturer.

Overview of Learning Resources

Selected Recommended Readings and Viewings:

Alexander, E.P Museum masters: their museums and their influence. American Assoc. for State and Local History. 1983.
Baylor, Jean-Noel Beaux-Arts Magazine: The Louvre, 1990.
Electa Moniteur. Milan-Paris. 1989.
Bresc-Bautier, G The Architecture of the Louvre: Thames & Hudson. London, 1995.
Davis, Douglas The Museum Transformed. Abbeville Press. Pub. N.Y. 1990.
Hooper-Greenhill, E Museums and the shaping of Knowledge. Routledge. N.Y.1995.
Jenger, Jean. Orsay, the Metamorphosis of a monument. Electa Moniteur. Paris 1987.
Jodidio, Philip Matisse, Musee De Nice. Connaissance Des Arts. Paris 1994.
Miles, R & Zavala, L Towards the Museum of the Future. Routledge. London.1994.
Steel, James Museum Builders. Academy Ed. Ernst & Sohn. London. 1994.
Vergo, Peter The New Museology. Reaktion. London.1989.
Wiseman, Carter. I.M.Pei - A Profile in American Architecture. Harry N.Abrams, Inc. New York. 1990.

Documentary Television Programs:

Relative Values, BBC. The Last Picture Show: 1991.
Relative Values, BBC. Keeping with the Medici. 1991
Gae Aulenti, ULF Interscience Film. Heidelberg. 1991.
Les Films D’Ici, A Museum in Time: 1993.Canal + Le Musee du Louvre

Overview of Assessment

There are two components of assessments in this course: 

(a) A written critique of a major art collection from a museum/gallery of your choice.  40%

(b) Research essay or project.  60%

Please refer to Part B of the course guide for further information on assessment.