This book considers key ethical questions in museum policy and practice, particularly those related to issues of collection and display. What does a collection signify in the twenty-first century museum? How does an engagement with immateriality challenge museums’ concept of ownership, and how does that immateriality translate into the design of exhibitions and museum space? Are museums still about safeguarding objects, and what does safeguarding mean for diverse individuals and communities today? How does the notion of the museum as a performative space challenge our perceptions of the object?
The scholarship represented in this volume is a testament to the range and significance of critical inquiry in museum ethics. Together, the chapters resist a legalistic interpretation, bound by codes and common practice, to advance an ethics discourse that is richly theorized, constantly changing and contingent on diverse external factors. Contributors take stock of innovative research to articulate a new museum ethics founded on the moral agency of museums, the concept that museums have both the capacity and the responsibility to create social change.
This book is based on a special issue of Museum Management and Curatorship.
Table of Contents
Preface Janet Marstine, Alexander A. Bauer and Chelsea Haines 1. Situated Revelations: Radical Transparency in the Museum Janet Marstine 2. Ethical Issues of Social Media in Museums: A Case Study Amelia S. Wong 3. New Challenges, New Priorities: Analyzing Ethical Dilemmas from a Stakeholder’s Perspective in the Netherlands Léontine Meijer-van Mensch 4. Us and Them: Who Benefits from Experimental Exhibition Making? Pete Brown 5. Universalism and the New Museology: Impacts on the Ethics of Authority and Ownership Joshua M. Gorman 6. A New State of the Arts: Developing the Biennial Model as Ethical Art Practice Chelsea Haines 7. Museum Ethics, Missing Voices and the Case of the Tropical Houses Lydie Diakhaté
Janet Marstine is Lecturer and Programme Director of Art Museum and Gallery Studies at the University of Leicester, UK. Her research focuses on museum ethics in theory and practice. She is editor of The Routledge Companion to Museum Ethics (2011).
Alexander A. Bauer is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Queens College and The Graduate Center, CUNY, USA, and an Associate of the UCL Center for Museums, Heritage, and Material Culture Studies. He conducts archaeological fieldwork in Turkey, and since 2005 has been Editor of the International Journal of Cultural Property.
Chelsea Haines is an independent writer and curator based in Brooklyn, New York, USA. She is currently the Education & Public Programs Manager at Independent Curators International and Associate Editor of The Exhibitionist, a new journal devoted to exhibition-making.