Students will attend lectures and seminars devoted to the theoretical and practical principles of preserving cultural heritage. A basic knowledge of law and criminology in connection with the protection of cultural property will be gained from lectures in the field of law and seminars organized in cooperation with the competent criminal investigation authorities (federal and state criminal police, customs). A science component will provide a knowledge of materials analysis (forgeries) und digital heritage. Periods of practical experience with cooperation partners (such as museums, World Heritage sites, authorities for conservation management, international organizations) will not only help students to develop practical skills (communication and presentation of cutural heritage, heritage management), but also give them an impression of conditions in the job market. Key competencies for the preservation and handling of tangible and intangible cultural heritage will be gained in the course of practical seminars organized by the HCCH together with non-university cooperation partners.
The degree programme is structured in modules and can at present only be taken as main subject (100%) beginning in the winter semester. In the basic modules taught during the first two semesters, students become familiarized with theoretical, economic, political and legal aspects of tangible and intangible cultural heritage. In the advanced module, they broaden their knowledge in respect of intangible cultural heritage and World Heritage management. The practical module offers an introduction to object handling, collection management and digital heritage.
Beginning with the second semester, students choose an optional module focusing on particular aspects of cultural heritage, such as provenance research, legal norms, practical transfer of knowledge to the public, or particular kinds of tangible or intangible cultural heritage (such as language and writing).
In the third semester, students spend a period of at least two months gaining practical experience with one of our established cooperation partners or another appropriate institution (museum, World Heritage site, academic or scientific institution, national or international agency for the protection of cultural property, NGO). This practical experience can help the students to formulate a topic for their Master’s thesis, which must be written during the final semester.
Optional focus area
The programme for the MA in Cultural Heritage and the Protection of Cultural Property covers a broad range of interdisciplinary subjects. After the first semester, each student must choose one of five optional focus areas. Individual counselling is offered to help with this decision.
The different optional modules are intended to give the students practical and theoretical competencies in specific areas. They make it possible to take into account each student’s educational background, personal interests and future employment goals.
Cultures of the world
This module enables students to deepen their knowledge in certain areas of tangible and intangible cultural heritage and to apply this knowledge to current issues concerning cultural heritage and the protection of cultural property. Students can choose two lecture courses and one main seminar class from one or several disciplines which deal primarily with the tangible and/or intangible cultural heritage of a certain era, culture or region.
Writing and language as cultural heritage
This module enables students to deepen their knowledge in the fields of “writing” and “language” as intangible cultural heritage. In tutorials devoted to reading texts and one main seminar class they will study selected languages and writing systems, and learn how to handle different kinds of written archive materials which are of potential interest for research.
Provenance and forgery research
In this module students will learn the basic principles of provenance research and how forgeries of tangible and intangible cultural heritage can be detected. The methods of provenance research and questions arising (such as restitution) will be illustrated by selected examples in a reduced main seminar class. A tutorial on forgery analysis will provide an overview of the scientific and technological principles behind the detection of forgeries of tangible cultural heritage. The texts read in the tutorial will be related to provenance and forgery research.
Basic legal principles
In this module students will acquire a good knowledge of the legal principles that apply to cultural heritage and the protection of cultural property. Students may choose to focus on either public law or civil law. Two introductory lecture courses on public and civil law form the basis of the module. These are followed by three advanced lecture courses. In the field of public law these lectures are devoted to building law, international law and tax law. In the field of civil law the three fields are property law and private international law I and II.
Communication and presentation of cultural heritage
In this module students learn how to transfer academic knowledge to the general public through presentations and exhibitions. In a seminar class selected forms and technologies of knowledge communication will be introduced and applied to concrete exhibition and valorization projects. The students will familiarize themselves with current communication concepts and present their results in oral and written form tailored to suit specific target groups. A tutorial class will help them to gain an overview of the planning and work steps involved in designing and implementing an exhibition. The lecture course is devoted to the theme of the chosen exhibition project(s) and serves to deepen the students’ theoretical knowledge.