1st Edition

The Museums and Collections of Higher Education

By Andrew Simpson Copyright 2023
    180 Pages
    by Routledge

    180 Pages
    by Routledge

    The Museums and Collections of Higher Education provides an analysis of the historic connections between materiality and higher education, developed through diverse examples of global practice.

    Outlining the different value propositions that museums and collections bring to higher education, the historic link between objects, evidence and academic knowledge is examined with reference to the origin point of both types of organisation. Museums and collections bring institutional reflection, cross-disciplinary bridges, digital extension options and participatory potential. Given the two primary sources of text and object, a singular source type predisposes a knowledge system to epistemic stasis, whereas mixed sources develop the potential for epistemic disruption and possible change. Museums and collections, therefore, are essential in the academies of higher learning. With the many challenges confronting humanity, it is argued that connecting intellect with social action for societal change through university museums should be a contemporary manifestation of the social contract of universities.

    Much has been written about museums and universities, but there is little about university museums and collections. This book will interest museum scholars and practitioners especially those unaware that university museums are at the forefront of museological creativity. It will also be of interest to academics and the growing number of leaders and managers in the modern university.

    Chapter 1 An introduction to the museums and collections of higher education; Chapter 2 Developing institutional narratives; Chapter 3 Crossing discipline boundaries; Chapter 4 Getting more from objects and collections; Chapter 5 Involving people and communities; Chapter 6 Lessons from university museums and collections; References; Index.


    Andrew Simpson has worked for Australian universities in professional and academic capacities. This has included being a solo operator of a university museum and introducing and developing Australia's first undergraduate degree program in Museum Studies. He is currently a Postdoctoral Research Affiliate at the Chau Chak Wing Museum, the University of Sydney and is active in UMAC, ICOM’s International Committee for University Museums and Collections. His research interests include the history, role and functions of museums, in particular, university museums, museum education, natural history and the public understanding of science.

    "Using examples from around the world, Simpson reveals the way university museums and collections reflect their institutional setting. He addresses how cross-disciplinary programming in teaching, exhibitions, and events can be entry points for knowledge, and he demonstrates that museums can pose questions about materiality, surrogacy, and digital practices as related to collections.This well-referenced (but unillustrated) book will interest scholars and students of museum studies, as well as those studying the history of the academy (as an institution) and the history of collections." ~ J. Decker, Rochester Institute of Technology, CHOICE

    “This book makes a significant contribution to our knowledge of university museums …. it draws upon a substantial and impressive number of publications from otherwise dispersed and disjointed literature. At its best, it does something more by proposing a way of understanding the value of university museums for the broader fields of museology and higher education.” ~ Camila Plaza - International Journal of Heritage Studies, Volume 29, 2023 - Issue 5


    “The first of its kind. Andrew Simpson provides a beautiful and appealing book” ~ Gabriela Chavarria - Museum Management and Curatorship, Volume 38, 2023 - Issue 2