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MA Collections Care and Conservation Management

Course Description

Still accepting applications for 2016/17

This new MA provides the theoretical and practical knowledge necessary for a lead role in collections care and management within a historic house context. It is aimed at conservators and curators with significant collections care responsibilities, as well as graduates from conservation or other museum related disciplines intending to develop their careers in this area.

The two year course offers a flexible study path to achieve your MA. The curriculum is delivered in themed 5 day modules spread out over the two year programme. Course modules cover a comprehensive programme of theory coupled with practical conservation exercises and visits that focus on key aspects of contemporary collections care and management practice. Residential modules are supported by off-site research assignments and a dissertation.

::You can expect::

- To learn key theoretical concepts and apply them in practical exercises
- To assess and prioritise risks to a collection in order to develop management strategies
- Use of the diverse collection at West Dean in real-life scenarios
- To study all aspects of collections care including context, security, salvage planning, loans and more
- Collaboration with conservation students
- Transferrable skills in research, academic writing, data analysis and critical thinking

::Learning environment::

- High tutor: student ratio
- Study within a working historic house and estate
- An interdisciplinary environment
- Networking and building of professional contacts
- Access to a range of experts in different object disciplines

Programme subject to validation.

Programme Aims

The aims of the Masters programme in Collections Care and Management are to:


1. Provide a context, environment and study collection where collections care and conservation
management skills can be developed and applied within a working historic house context.

2. To develop core competencies in collections care and conservation management including
understanding object, material and collection contexts and types, agents of deterioration and
how the damage that they cause can be monitored and mitigated, risk assessment and
management, object handling, storage, loans, transport and display; along with skills relating to
budgeting, fundraising and managing people.


3. Foster a critical awareness of the significance of objects and collections, including their cultural,
historical and site specific context.

4. Develop a critical awareness of key theoretical concepts that underpin collections care and
conservation management, including the agents of deterioration, the principles of risk and
change management.

5. Develop originality in the application of principles and knowledge, coupled with a practical
understanding of how established techniques of research and enquiry are used to create and
interpret knowledge in the field of collections care and conservation management.


6. To enable the students' potential and aptitude for professional practice, research and
employment by encouraging self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems and in
planning and implementing projects.

7. To encourage open-minded attitudes and approaches that equip students to become selfmotivated,
independent professionals, able to make decisions confidently in complex and
unpredictable situations

8. Prepare students for professional practice in collections care and conservation management
roles in a range of heritage contexts.


Facilities include an analytical laboratory and computer suite. The on-site Art and Conservation Library gives you access to specialist databases and thousands of specialist books and journals.

Collaboration with other conservation specialisms makes for a uniquely enriched learning environment.

Visit the MA Collections Care and Conservation Management page on the West Dean College website for more details!

Entry Requirements

An upper 2nd class or above UK Honours degree in an appropriate subject, or a non-UK equivalent. Students will also need to demonstrate an established relationship (employment or other arrangements) with a historic house, museum or collection that will support their research assignments.

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Recipient: West Dean College
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