1st Edition

Museums and the Challenge of Change Old Institutions in a New World

Edited By Graham Black Copyright 2021
    334 Pages 58 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    334 Pages 58 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Museums and the Challenge of Change explores the profound challenges facing museums and charts ways forward that are grounded in partnership with audiences and communities on-site, online, and in wider society.

    Facing new generations with growing needs and desires, growing population diversity, and a digital revolution, the museum sector knows it must change – but it has been slow to respond. Drawing on the expertise and voices of practitioners from within and beyond the sector, Black calls for a change of mind-set and radical evolution (transformation over time, learning from the process, rather than a ‘big bang’ approach). Internally, a participative environment supports social interaction through active engagement with collections and content – and Black includes an initial typology of participative exhibits, both traditional and digital. Externally, the museum works in partnership with local communities and other agencies to make a real difference, in response to societal challenges. Black considers what this means for the management and structure of the museum, emphasising that it is not possible to separate the development of a participative experience from the ways in which the museum is organised.

    Museums and the Challenge of Change is highly practical and focused on initiatives that museums can implement swiftly and cheaply, making a real impact on user engagement. The book will thus be essential reading for museum practitioners and students of museum studies around the globe.



    Section 1 Introduction

    Ch 1 Societal change

    Ch 2 Museums and the Digital Revolution

    A Jenny Kidd: Social Media and Participation: The selfie as a curious cultural artefact

    B Rebecca O’Neill: Museums and Participatory Culture: Wikimedia and GLAM

    C Daniel Brown: ‘A series of interesting choices’: Gaming and Gamification as Participation


    Section 2 Introduction

    Ch 3 Engaging Diverse Audiences

    Ch 4 The Activist Museum

    D Tony Butler: Making the Museum of Making at Derby Silk Mill

    E Elizabeth Crooke: Participation, Trust and telling Difficult Histories in Museums

    F Mark O’Neill, Pete Seaman & Duncan Dornan: Public Health and Museums: building a strategic partnership

    G Merel van der Vaart et al: The Stedelijk Museum: facing the challenges of being truly of, by and for all


    Section 3 Introduction

    Ch 5 The informal museum learning experience

    Ch 6 Creating an inclusive and participative museum experience

    Ch 7 Developing participative exhibits and activities

    H Johannes Bernhardt: ‘Slow Participation’: the case of the Baden State Museum, Karlsruhe

    I Kirsten Drotner: Joint creativity for democratic transformations in museums

    J Hsiao-Te Hsu: A case study on Digital Technology, AI and Participation at the National Palace Museum, Taipei

    K Mette Houlberg Rung: On Dialogue and the museum as social space

    L Anders Sundnes Løvlie et al: Designing for interpersonal museum experiences

    M Philipp Schrögel: Showcasing Science and Facilitating Interaction: Science Slams in Museums


    Section 4 Introduction

    Ch 8 Managing Change

    N Scott Cooper: Design (Re)Thinking a Legacy Institution – Strategic Planning at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, Philadelphia

    P Kathryn Thomson: National Museums Northern Ireland: Managing Change, a Case Study


    Ch 9 Concluding thoughts: IF NOT NOW, WHEN?


    Graham Black has worked in and with museums for over 40 years. Today, he combines his role as Professor of Museum Development at Nottingham Trent University, UK, with museum consultancy. Exhibitions on which he has acted as Interpretive Consultant have twice won the UK £100,000 Art Fund Prize, amongst many other awards. His previous publications include two books: The Engaging Museum, published in 2005, and Transforming Museums in the 21st Century, published in 2012, both with Routledge. In recent years, his belief that future museum content should be much more agile, fast-moving, cheap, and responsive has meant he has moved away from large, expensive re-display projects to working with local communities and organisations taking approaches that he believes can make a difference.