Museum Studies  book cover
1st Edition

Museum Studies

Edited By

Rhiannon Mason

ISBN 9781138014350
Published November 18, 2019 by Routledge
2184 Pages

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Book Description

Especially in the last several decades, Museum Studies has expanded enormously to become an internationally recognized and highly interdisciplinary academic field. It draws on subjects from across the humanities and social sciences, including Art History, Cultural Studies, Ethnography, Cultural Geography, History, Sociology, Economics, Business, Marketing, and Tourism Studies. (And, beyond the academy, it has also benefited from significant contributions made by cultural policy-makers.)

While intellectual diversity is a great strength of Museum Studies, its complex heritage makes it extremely challenging for the uninitiated to navigate and comprehend the subject’s major works. Indeed, even those who are very familiar with particular disciplinary domains may be unaware of other important parallel debates taking place elsewhere. This new five-volume collection from Routledge, edited by Rhiannon Mason of the International Centre for Cultural and Heritage Studies, Newcastle University, responds to that challenge by making readily available in one panoptical ‘mini library’ the foundational and the very best cutting-edge research from the entire range of disciplines and subjects that contribute towards Museum Studies.

In five volumes, the collection addresses the philosophical, theoretical, and ethical concerns of museums—alongside the equally important practical, organizational, and operational issues—to understand how they operate today. The collection also reflects the fact that many of the issues faced by contemporary institutions can only be understood in the context of the philosophy and history of museums as they have developed since the earliest collections of the European Renaissance.

The major works brought together in Volume I (‘Museums: Histories and Theories’) provide a historical and philosophical context for the development of museums. They furnish a comprehensive introduction to the ideas of ‘the new museology’, which are so crucial to current trends in anglophone Museum Studies, and provide a conceptual framework for a fuller understanding of the following volumes.

The scholarship gathered in Volume II (‘Museums: Economics and Management’) situates museums in the everyday context within which they operate, and investigates the different purposes that museums are said to possess by their various stakeholders, for example, as engines of economic regeneration, tourism, or ‘place branding’. Volume II also focuses on the financial costs and practicalities of making museums work, enabling readers to grasp the day-to-day realities of museum work alongside the more philosophical and ethical issues raised in Volume I.

Volume III (‘Museums: Materiality and Practice’), meanwhile, explores the specifics of museum practice to address questions such as: how are exhibitions and displays produced? How is interpretation understood? How are collections managed? And how are objects deployed and architectural spaces navigated? The pieces collected here also tackle other areas of museum practice, including institutional context and staffing. Issues around how institutions behave and develop an ethos, and how museum staff nurture their professional skills and careers, are vital to understanding the broader museum world. As are new trends in curation, such as community co-production, and the increasing range of ways in which museums are being reconceptualized beyond their physical walls, for example, as performance spaces or platforms for user-generated digital content.

Volume IV (‘Museums: Visitors, Audiences, Communities, and Publics’) assembles vital research on our interactions with museums. The materials collected here introduce users to the many different ways in which a museum’s public can be understood, imagined, and addressed across the whole gamut of a museum’s activities, from its programming and interpretation to marketing. The volume also takes full cognizance of recent attempts to expand and diversify museum audiences.

The final volume in the collection (‘Museums: Identities, Controversies, and Difficult Histories’) brings together landmark and contemporary studies to interrogate many of the concerns which have repeatedly drawn museums into controversy over recent years. Ways in which museums find themselves caught up in public outrage and censorship include dealing with thorny issues around identity politics and sensitive historical events, such as the Holocaust, colonialism, and slavery.

With a detailed and comprehensive introduction and commentary to each volume, Museum Studies is destined to be welcomed as an essential work of reference and a crucial research tool.

Table of Contents

Vol. 1: Museums: Histories, Theories, and Debates


Collecting Objects and Constructing Knowledge

    1. MacGregor, A., ‘The Cabinet of Curiosities in 17th-Century Britain’. In Impey, O. and MacGregor, A. The Origins of museums: the cabinet of curiosities in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Europe. (Oxford: Clarendon. 1985)
    2. Jordanova, L. ‘Object of Knowledge: A Historical Perspective on Museums.’ In Vergo, P. (ed.) The New Museology. (London: Reaktion Books, 1989) pp.23-40.
    3. Feest, C., ‘European Collecting of American Indian Artefacts and Art.’ Journal of the History of Collections, 5 (1), 1993. pp.1–11.
    4. Barringer, T. ‘The South Kensington Museum and the Colonial Project.’ In Barringer, T. and T Flynn. (eds.) Colonialism and the Object: Empire, Material Culture and the Museum. (London and New York: Routledge, 1998) pp.11-27.
    5. Pearce, S. ‘Objects Inside and Outside Museums’. In Pearce. S. Museums, Objects and Collections: A Cultural Study. (Leicester and London: Leicester University Press.1992.) pp.15-35.
    6. Macdonald, S. ‘Collecting Practices.’ In Macdonald, S. (ed.) A Companion to Museum Studies. (Malden, MA and Oxford. 2006) pp.81-97.

The Idea of the Public Museum

    1. Bennett, T., ‘The Exhibitionary Complex’. New Formations, 4, 1988. pp.73–102.
    2. Hooper-Greenhill, E. ‘What is a Museum?’ in Hooper-Greenhill, E. Museums and the Shaping of Knowledge. (London: Routledge: 1992) pp.1-22.
    3. Duncan, C. ‘From the Princely Gallery to the Public Art Museum: The Louvre Museum and the National Gallery, London’. In Duncan, C. Civilising Rituals: Inside Public Art Museums. (London and New York: Routledge, 1995). pp.8-21.
    4. Abt, J., ‘The Origins of the Public Museum’. In S. Macdonald (ed.) A Companion to Museum Studies. (Malden, MA, USA: Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 2006), pp. 115–134.
    5. Barrett, J. ‘The Museum as Public Space’. In Barrett, J. Museums and the Public Sphere. (Malden, MA.Oxford. Blackwell: 2011) pp.81-117.
    6. Ashley, S. ‘State Authority and the Public Sphere: Ideas on the Changing Role of the Museum as a Canadian Social Institution.’ museum and society. Vol. 3 (1). 2005. pp.5-17.



‘New Museology’

    1. Vergo, P. ‘Introduction’ In Vergo, P. (ed.) The New Museology. (London: Reaktion Books, 1989) pp.1-6.
    2. Stam, D. ‘The Informed Muse: The Implications of "The New Museology" for Museum Practice.’ Museum Management and Curatorship. 1993. 12: pp.267–283.
    3. Weil, S. E. ‘Rethinking the Museum: An Emerging New Paradigm’. In Weil, S. Rethinking the Museum and other Meditations. (Washington: Smithsonian.1990) pp.57-68.
    4. Shelton, A. "Critical Museology: A Manifesto". Museum Worlds: Advances in Research. Vol. 1: 2013. pp.7-23.
    5. Schorch, P., McCarthy, C., and A. Hakiwai. ‘Globalizing Maori Museology: Reconceptualising Engagement, Knowledge, and Virtuality through Mana Taonga.’ Museum Anthropology. 39 (1): 2016. pp.48-69.
    6. Phillips, R. B. ‘Re-placing Objects: Historical Practices for the Second Museum Age.’ The Canadian Historical Review, Volume 86, Number 1, March 2005, pp. 83-110.


Vol. 2: The Business of Museums


The Economics of Museums

    1. Throsby, D. (2001) ‘Theories of Value’. Economics and Culture. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp.19-41..
    2. Frey, B. and S. Meier. ‘Cultural Economics.’ In S. Macdonald (ed.) A Companion to Museum Studies. (Malden, MA, USA: Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 2006), pp.398-414.
    3. Schuster, J. (1998) "Neither Public Nor Private: The Hybridization of Museums". In Journal of Cultural Economics. Vol. 22: 127-150.
    4. Plaza, B. ‘The return on investment of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao’. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research. 30 (2) 2006: 452-467.
    5. Cowell, B. ‘Measuring the Impact of Free Admission’. Cultural Trends. Vol. 16 (3) September 2007, pp. 203-224.
    6. Falk, J. H. and Sheppard, B. K. (2006) ‘Strategies for Success.’ In Falk, J. H. and B. K. Sheppard. Thriving in the Knowledge Age: New Business Models for Museums and Other Cultural Institutions. (Oxford: AltaMira Press, 2006). pp.185-220.

Policy, Practices, and Values

    1. Gray, C. (2011) ‘Museums, Galleries, Politics and Management.’ Public Policy and Administration. Vol. 26 (1). pp.45-61.
    2. Scott. C. (2009) ‘Exploring the Evidence Base for Museum Value.’ Museum Management and Curatorship. Vol. 24 (3). pp. 195-212.
    3. Davies, S. M., Paton. R. & T J O’Sullivan. (2013) ‘The Museum Values Framework: A Framework for Understanding Organisational Culture in Museums.’ Museum Management and Curatorship. Vol. 28 (4), pp.345-361.
    4. Sandell, R. ‘Complexity and Creativity in Contemporary Museum Management.’ In Sandell, R. and R. R. Janes. (eds.) Museum Management and Marketing. (Abingdon, Oxon and New York: Routledge, 2007). pp.1-14
    5. Silberberg, T. & Lord, G., 2015. Balancing Mission and Money: Critical Issues in Museum Economics. In C. McCarthy, (ed.) The International Handbooks of Museum Studies. Volume 2: Museum Practice. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 155–178.
    6. Scott, E. & Luby, E.M. (2007), ‘Maintaining Relationships with Native Communities: The Role of Museum Management and Governance.’ Museum Management and Curatorship, Vol. 22 (3) pp.265-285.

Marketing, Branding and Sponsorship

    1. McLean, F. ‘The Marketing Context.’ In McLean, F. Marketing the Museum. (London and New York: Routledge. 1997). pp. 36-60.
    2. Kotler, N. G. Kotler, P, Kotler. W. ‘The Role of Museum Marketing’. In Kotler, N. G. Kotler, P, Kotler. W Museum Marketing and Strategy: Designing Missions, Building Audiences, Generating Revenue and Resources. 2nd edition. (San Franscico, CA.: John Wiley, 2008) pp.21-40.
    3. Gilmore, A. & Rentschler, R. (2002), Changes in museum management: a custodial or marketing emphasis? The Journal of Management Development. Vol. 21 (10) pp.745-760.
    4. French, Y. and Runyard. S. ‘A Public Relations Strategy for Every Occasion.’ French, Y. & Runyard, S. In Marketing and Public Relations for Museums, Galleries, Cultural and Heritage Attractions. (Abingdon, Oxon. And New York: Routledge, 2011). pp.55-70.
    5. Wallace, M. ‘Digital and Social Media.’ in Wallace, M. Museum Branding: How to Create and Maintain Image, Loyalty and Support. (Maryland, USA. and London: Rowman and Littlefield, 2016). pp.177-193.
    6. Ajana, B. ‘Branding, Legitimation and the Power of Museums: The Case of the Louvre Abu Dhabi.’ museum & society July, Vol. 13 (3) 2015. pp.316-335.

Vol 3: The Museum and its Technologies


Displays and Exhibitions

    1. Gurian Heumann, E. ‘What is the Object of This Exercise: A Meandering Exploration of the Many Meanings of Objects in Museums, 1999’. Gurian Heumann, E. In Civilising the Museum: The Collected Writings of Elaine Heumann Gurian. (Routledge: London and New York, 2006). pp.33-47.
    2. Moser, S. ‘The Devil is in the Detail: Museum Displays and the Creation of Knowledge’. In Museum Anthropology, Vol 33 Issue 1 (2010): pp.22-32.
    3. C. Whitehead (2017)  'Critical Analysis Tool (CAT): why analyze museum display?', CoHERE Critical Archive, available; ISSN: 10.17634/154300-29   DOI: 2399-1143
    4. C. Whitehead (2017) 'How to Analyse Museum Display: script, text, narrative' CoHERE Critical Archive, available; ISSN: 10.17634/154300-29   DOI: 2399-1143
    5. Tzortzi, K. Movement in Museums: Mediating Between Museum Intent and Visitor Experience, Museum Management and Curatorship, Vol. 29 (4), 2014, pp.327 - 348.
    6. Henning, M. ‘Legitimacy and Affect: Museums as New Media’. In Macdonald, S. and P. Basu. (Eds.) ‘Exhibition Experiments’. (Malden, Oxford: Blackwell, 2007) pp.24-46.


Making Meanings: Communication, Interpretation and Learning in Museums

    1. Mason, R. ‘Museums, Galleries and Heritage: Sites of Meaning-making and Communication.’ In Corsane, G. (ed.), Heritage, Museums and Galleries: An Introductory Reader. (Routledge: London and New York, 2005) pp. 200-214
    2. Ravelli, L. J. ‘Introduction: Texts, Frameworks, and Meanings.’ In Museum Texts: Communication Frameworks. (London and New York: Routledge, 2006.) pp.1-18.
    3. Hein, G. E. ‘The Significance of Museum Education’. In Hein, G. E. Learning in the Museum. (London: Routledge, 1998). pp.1-13.
    4. Falk, J. H. and L. D. Dierking. ‘The Contextual Model of Learning’. In Falk, J. H. and L. D. Dierking. Learning from Museums: Visitor Experiences and the Making of Meaning. (Walnut Creek, CA. AltaMira Press. 2000) pp.135-148.
    5. Leinhardt, G., Knutston, K. ‘Learning’. In Leinhardt, G., and K. Knutston, Listening In On Museum Conversations. (Walnut Creek, CA. AltaMira Press. 2004) pp.1-20.
    6. Kelly, L. ‘The Connected Museum in the World of Social Media.’ in Drotner, K. and K. C. Schroder. (eds.) Museum Communication and Social Media: The Connected Museum. (London and New York: Routledge, 2013) pp.54-74.


The Digital Museum

    1. Kidd, J. ‘The Transmedia Museum’ in Kidd, J. Museums in the New Mediascape: Transmedia, Participation, Ethics. (Farnham: Ashgate, 2014) 23-40.
    2. Parry, R. 'The End of the Beginning: Normativity in the Postdigital Museum', Museum Worlds, Vol. 1 (2013), pp. 24-39.
    3. Cameron, F. ‘Beyond the Cult of the Replicant: Museums and Historical Digital Objects: Traditional Concerns, New Discourses’. In Cameron, F. and S Kenderdine. (eds.) Theorizing Digital Cultural Heritage: A Critical Discourse. (Cambridge. MA. and London England: MIT Press. 2007). pp.49-76.
    4. Brown, D. and Nicholas, G. ‘Protecting Indigenous Cultural Property in the Age of Digital Democracy: Institutional and Communal Response to Canadian First Nations and Māori Heritage Concerns’. Journal of Material Culture Vol.17 (3) 2012: 307–324.
    5. Oomen, J. and L. Aroyo. ‘Crowdsourcing in the cultural heritage domain: opportunities and challenges’. In Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Communities and Technologies (C&T '11). (ACM, New York, NY, USA, 2011), 138-149.
    6. McCarthy, J. & Ciolfi, L. ‘Place as Dialogue: Understanding and Supporting the Museum Experience’, International Journal of Heritage Studies, (Vol. 14:3, 2008) pp.247-267


Vol. 4: Museums and their Publics


Visitors and Audiences

    1. Weil, S.E. ‘From Being About Something to Being For Somebody: The Ongoing Transformation of the American Museum.’ Daedalus. Vol. 128 (3). Summer 1999. pp.229-258.
    2. Hooper-Greenhill, E. ‘Forces for Change.’ In Hooper, Greenhill. E. Museums and Their Visitors. (London and New York: Routledge.1994.) pp.6-34.
    3. Reeve, J. and V. Woollard ‘Influences on Museum Practice’ in C. Lang, J. Reeve and V. Woollard. The Responsive Museum: Working with Audiences in the Twenty-First Century. (Aldershot, England and Burlington, USA: Ashgate, 2006) pp.5-18.
    4. Black, G. ‘Getting to Know Our Users Better.’ In Transforming Museums in the Twenty-First Century. (Abingdon, Oxon. and New York: Routledge, 2012). pp.15-43.
    5. Chan, Wing T. and J. H. Goldthorpe ‘Social Status and Cultural Consumption.’ in Chan, Wing. T. Social Status and Cultural Consumption. (Cambridge, UK, and New York: Cambridge University Press. 2010) pp.1-27.
    6. Gronemann, S. T., Kristiansen, E. and K. Drotner. ‘Mediated Co-Construction of Museums and Audiences on Facebook.’ In Museum Management and Curatorship. Vol. 30 (3). 2015. pp. 174-190.


Museums and Communities

    1. Clifford, J. ‘Museums as Contact Zones.’ In Clifford, J. Routes: Travel and Translation in the late Twentieth Century. (Cambridge, MA, and London: Harvard University Press, 1997) pp.188-219.
    2. Crooke, E. ‘The "Active Museum": How Concern with Community Transformed the Museum.’ In McCarthy, C. (ed.) Museum Practice Vol 2. In Macdonald, S. and H. R. Leahy. (eds.) The International Handbooks of Museum Studies. (John Wiley & Sons Ltd. 2015). pp.481-502.
    3. Witcomb, A. ‘A Place for All of Us?: Museums and Communities.’ In Witcomb, A. Reimagining the Museum: Beyond the Mausoleum. (London and New York: Routledge, 2003) pp.79-101
    4. Lonetree, A. ‘Missed Opportunity: Reflections on the NMAI.’ The American Indian Quarterly. Vol. 30 (3&4) Summer/Fall. 2006, pp. 632-645.
    5. Colquhoun, B., Galani, A. (2013) ‘Flickr The Commons: Historic photographic collections through the eyes of an online community of interest’. In: Moschovi, A., McKay, C., Plouviez, A., (eds) The Versatile Image: Photography, Digital Technologies and the Internet. Leuven, Netherlands: Leuven University Press, 2013, pp.169-191.

Engagement and Coproduction

    1. Simon, N. ‘Chapter 1: Principles of Participation.’ In The Participatory Museum. Nina Simon. CC Attribution Non-Commercial. (Museum 2.0: Santa Cruz, CA.) 2010. pp.1-21.
    2. Lynch, B. and S. J. M. M. Alberti, ‘Legacies of Prejudice: Racism, Co-Production and Trust in the Museum. Museum Management and Curatorship. Vol. 25 (1). 2010. pp.13-35.
    3. Onciul, B. ‘Engagement Zones.’ In Museums, Heritage and Indigenous Voice: Decolonising Engagement. (Abingdon, Oxon. And New York, 2015) pp.71-89.
    4. Hutchison, M. "‘Shared Authority’: Collaboration, Curatorial Voice, and Exhibition Design in Canberra, Australia", in Golding, V., & W. Modest, eds., Museums and Communities: Curators, Collections and Collaboration, (London: Bloomsbury Academic 2013.), pp.143-162.
    5. Yerkovich, S. ‘Ethics in a Changing Social Landscape: Community Engagement and Public Participation in Museums.’ In Murphy, B. L. (ed.) Museums, Ethics and Cultural Heritage. (Routledge, Abingdon, Oxon and New York. 2016). pp.242-250.
    6. Smith, R.C. and O. S. Iversen. ‘Participatory Heritage Innovation: Designing Dialogic Sites of Engagement.’ Digital Creativity. Vol. 25 (3), pp.255-268.



Vol. 5: Museums, Controversy, and Politics


Identities and Diversity


    1. Szekeres, V., Representing Diversity and Challenging Racism: The Migration Museum. In R. Sandell, (ed.) Museums, Society, Inequality. (London: Routledge, 2002) pp. 142–152.
    2. Carnegie, E. ‘It Wasn’t All Bad: Representations of Working Class Cultures within Social History Museums and Their Impacts on Audiences.’ museum and society. Vol. 4 (2), 2006: pp.69-83.
    3. Message, K. ‘Contested Sites of Identity and the Cult of the New’. in Message, K. New Museums and the Making of Culture. (Oxford and London: Berg. 2006). pp.137-165.
    4. Dodd, J., Jones, C., Jolly, D. and Sandell, R. ‘Disability reframed: challenging visitor perceptions in the museum’ in R. Sandell, J. Dodd and R. Garland Thomson, R. (eds) Re-Presenting Disability: Activism and Agency in the Museum, (Routledge: London and New York, 2010) pp.92-112.
    5. Hein, Hilde. ‘Looking at Museums from a Feminist Perspective’. In Levine, A. K. (ed.) Gender, Sexuality and Museums. (London and New York: Routledge, 2010) pp.53-64.
    6. Mills, R. ‘Theorising the Queer Museum’. Museums and Social Issues. Vol. 3 (1). 2013: pp.41-52.
    7. Ross, C. ‘From Migration to Diversity and Beyond: The Museum of London Approach’ in Whitehead, C., Eckersley, S., Lloyd, K. and R. Mason (eds.) Museums, Migration and Identity in Europe: Peoples, Places and Identities. (Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate, 2015) pp. 61-80.


Ownership, Control and Ethics

    1. Luke, T. W. ‘Politics at the Exhibition: Aesthetics, History and Nationality in the Culture Wars.’ In Luke. W. Museum Politics. (Mineappolis and London: University of Minnesota Press, 2002) pp.1-18.
    2. O’Neill, M. ‘Enlightenment Museums: Universal or Merely Global?’ museum and society. Vol. 2 (3) 2004, pp.190-202.
    3. Simpson, M. ‘Bones of Contention: Human Remains in Museum Collections.’ In Simpson, M. Making Representations: Museums in the Post-Colonial Era. (London and New York: Routledge. 1996) pp.173-189.
    4. Peers, L. ‘Ceremonies of Renewal: Visits, Relationships, and Healing in the Museum Space.’ Museum Worlds: Advances in Research. Vol. 1 (2013). pp.136-152.
    5. Marstine, J. ‘Situated Revelations: Radical Transparency in the Museum’ in Marstine, J. A. Bauer, and C. Haines. (eds.) New Directions in Museum Ethics. (London and New York: Routledge. 2013) pp. 1-23.
    6. Hogsden, Carl & Poulter, Emma K. ‘The Real Other? Museum Objects in Digital Contact Networks’, Journal of Material Culture Vol. 17 (3) 2012. pp.265–286.
    7. Kreps, C., ‘Non-Western Models of Museums and Curation in Crosscultural Perspective.’ In Macdonald, S. (ed.) A Companion to Museum Studies. Malden, MA, USA: Blackwell Publishing Ltd, (2006) pp. 457–472.


Museums and Their Social Roles

    1. Silverman. L. H. ‘Birds in Flight’ in Silverman, L. H. The Social Work of Museums. (London and New York: Routledge, 2010.) p113-138.
    2. Message, K. ‘We the People’ in Message, K. Museums and Social Activism: Engaged Protest (Abingdon, Oxon and New York: Routledge, 2014). pp.42-73.
    3. Carter, J. and J. Orange. ‘Contentious Terrain: Defining a Human Rights Museology.’ Museum Management and Curatorship. Vol. 27, 2012 (2). pp.111-127.
    4. Cameron, F. ‘Safe Places for Unsafe Ideas? History and Science Museums, Hot Topics and Moral Predicaments’. Journal of the Social History Curators Group. Vol. 32. 2008. pp.5-18.
    5. Macdonald, S. ‘New Constellations of Difference in Europe’s Museumscape.’ Museum Anthropology. Vol 39. (1) 2016. pp.4-19.
    6. Lei, J. and E. Vickers. ‘Constructing Civic Identity in Shanghai’s Museums: Heritage, Ideology and Local Distinctiveness.’ In Vickers, E. and K. Kumar (eds.) Constructing Modern Asian Citizenship. (Abingdon, Oxon and New York: Routledge, 2015) pp.217-239.

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Professor Rhiannon Mason is the Head of the School of Arts and Cultures, Newcastle University, UK.