Museotherapy and the Caring Museum

Isabel Hufschmidt
Art Sciences and Art Education, Expanded Museum Studies
2023S, scientific seminar (SEW), 4.0 ECTS, 2.0 semester hours, course number S04621


Care and therapy as mission and forms of agency in museums are actually not such new qualities of the institution, but their (re)discovery is astonishing. It is not only since the beginning of the pandemic in 2019 that a psycho-hygienic emergency has arisen globally in societies and that museums have been exposed to the question about the what and how of their psychosocial responsibility. Thus, institutions have not seldomly emerged and continue to emerge as an instance of therapeutic and caring offers via specific programs.

The seminar explores the developments, histories, discourses, formats and forms, approaches, methods and goals as well as the places of care and therapy in the museum business. What exactly is meant by therapy, and especially by the neologism museotherapy, as well as care? What do they stand for? Who or what do they address? In what way do they enable integrative work and processes?

One of the many questions to face looms as to the possible vision in which the caring museum in the focus of e.g. museum studies, mediation, cultural work and the idea of an inclusive society might herald and reveal a new era of the institution as a vessel for ethics in connection with well-being. It will also be critically explored to what extent museums can be holistic places of psychosocial, therapeutic service respectively if they are actually able to provide this with all its consequences, and what significance collections embody as a tool here.

In the scope of the seminar, case studies, pilot projects and models on an international level will be researched, compared, examined and contextualised. The subject matter is developed through readings of relevant literature, written tasks, short papers/presentations,  practical exercises, and discussions.

A four-day field trip to Paris is intended to deepen the application-oriented approaches and insights, including dialogue with representatives of the museotherapy programs at Palais de Tokyo and Louvre-Lens.


Examination Modalities

During the preliminary meeting, topics for short presentations and reading material are assigned, which are to be prepared until the first session. The consultation hour is to be attended at least once before 18 April to discuss the status of work.


Mandatory for obtaining ECTS:

Attendance at the preliminary meeting and all sessions (including the field trip); maximum 3 hours of absence (180 min.) allowed

Preparation of short presentations

Drafting of short written reflections


Active oral participation

Submission of a concept or essay at the end of the semester



The seminar is limited to a maximum of 15 participants.


Subject to changes

Key Words

Museotherapy, Care, Museum, Well-Being


07 March 2023, 10:00–12:00 Seminar room 209, Expanded Museum Studies (preliminary discussion)
18 April 2023, 09:00–12:00 Seminar room 209, Expanded Museum Studies
25 April 2023, 09:00–12:00 Seminar room 209, Expanded Museum Studies
02 May 2023, 09:00–12:00 Seminar room 209, Expanded Museum Studies
03 May 2023, 00:00–06 May 2023, 00:00 Field trip to Paris

Course Enrolment

From 16 January 2023, 09:00 to 06 February 2023, 18:00
Via online registration

Expanded Museum Studies (Master): Expanded Museum Studies: Expanded Museum Studies 537/002.01

Co-registration: possible

Attending individual courses: possible