Museums, Moralities and Human Rights: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Museums, Moralities and Human Rights

1st Edition

By Richard Sandell


182 pages

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This book explores how museums, galleries and heritage sites of all kinds, through the narratives they construct and publicly present, can shape the moral and political climate within which human rights are experienced. Through a series of richly-drawn cases, which focus on gender diversity and same-sex love and desire, Richard Sandell examines the ways in which museums are implicated in the ongoing struggle for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex human rights. Museums, Moralities and Human Rights brings together for the first time the perspectives not only of those who work in, govern, fund and visit museums but also those of rights activists and campaigners who, at key moments in their struggle, have turned their attention to museums to advance their cause. Offering new insights into how human rights are continually fought for, realised and refused, this volume makes the case for museums of all kinds to take up an active, mindful and purposive engagement with contemporary human rights concerns.

Table of Contents


1 Progress and Protest

2 ‘I am he that aches with love’

3 Coming Out Stories

4 Taking sides

5 Museums and the Transgender Tipping Point

6 Museum Work as Human Rights Work

About the Author

Richard Sandell is Professor of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester. His research and practice focuses on museums, equality and social justice. He is Series Editor, with Christina Kreps, of Museum Meanings. His books include Museums, Prejudice and the Reframing of Difference (2007), Re-Presenting Disability: Activism and Agency in the Museum (with Jocelyn Dodd and Rosemarie Garland Thomson) (2010); and Museums, Equality and Social Justice (with Eithne Nightingale) (2012).

About the Series

Museum Meanings

Museums have undergone enormous changes in recent decades; an ongoing process of renewal and transformation bringing with it changes in priority, practice and role, as well as new expectations, philosophies, imperatives and tensions that continue to attract attention from those working in, and drawing upon, wide-ranging disciplines.

Museum Meanings presents new research that explores diverse aspects of the shifting social, cultural and political significance of museums and their agency beyond, as well as within, the cultural sphere. Interdisciplinary, cross-cultural and international perspectives and empirical investigation are brought to bear on the exploration of museums’ relationships with their various publics (and analysis of the ways in which museums shape – and are shaped by – such interactions).

Theoretical perspectives might be drawn from anthropology, cultural studies, art and art history, learning and communication, media studies, architecture and design and material culture studies, amongst others. Museums are understood very broadly – including art galleries, historic sites and other cultural heritage institutions – as are their relationships with diverse constituencies.

The Series Editors invite proposals that explore the political and social significance of museums and their ethical implications. If you have an idea for a book that you think would be appropriate for the series, then please contact the Series Editors to discuss further.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Archaeology