Routledge Companion to Museum Ethics is a theoretically informed reconceptualization of museum ethics discourse as a dynamic social practice central to the project of creating change in the museum. Through twenty-seven chapters by an international and interdisciplinary group of academics and practitioners it explores contemporary museum ethics as an opportunity for growth, rather than a burden of compliance. The volume represents diverse strands in museum activity from exhibitions to marketing, as ethics is embedded in all areas of the museum sector. What the contributions share is an understanding of the contingent nature of museum ethics in the twenty-first century—its relations with complex economic, social, political and technological forces and its fluid ever-shifting sensibility.
The volume examines contemporary museum ethics through the prism of those disciplines and methods that have shaped it most. It argues for a museum ethics discourse defined by social responsibility, radical transparency and shared guardianship of heritage. And it demonstrates the moral agency of museums: the concept that museum ethics is more than the personal and professional ethics of individuals and concerns the capacity of institutions to generate self-reflective and activist practice.
Table of Contents
Part One: Theorizing Museum Ethics 1. The Contingent Nature of the New Museum Ethics Janet Marstine 2. The Art of Ethics: Theories and Applications to Museum Practice Judith Chelius Stark 3. GoodWork in Museums Today...and Tomorrow Celka Straughn and Howard Gardner 4. Museums and the End of Materialism Robert R. Janes 5. Changing the Rules of the Road: Post-colonialism and the New Ethics of Museum Anthropology Christina Kreps 6. "Aroha mai: Whose Museum?" The Rise of Indigenous Ethics within Museum Contexts: A Maori-tribal Perspective Paul Tapsell 7. The Responsibility of Representation: A Feminist Perspective Hilde Hein Part Two: Ethics, Activism and Social Responsibility 8. On Ethics, Activism and Human Rights Richard Sandell 9. Collaboration, Contestation and Creative Conflict: On the Efficacy of Museum/Community Partnerships Bernadette T. Lynch 10. An Experimental Approach to Strengthen the Role of Science Centers in the Governance of Science Andrea Bandelli and Elly Konijn 11. Peering into the Bedroom: Restorative Justice at the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum Lisa Yun Lee 12. Being Responsive to be Responsible: Museums and Audience Development Claudia B. Ocello 13. Ethics and Challenges of Museum Marketing Yung-Neng Lin 14. Memorial Museums and the Objectification of Suffering Paul Williams Part Three: The Radical Potential of Museum Transparency 15. Cultural Equity in the Sustainable Museum Tristram Besterman 16. ‘Dance through the Minefield’: The Development of Practical Ethics for Repatriation Michael Pickering 17. Visible Listening—Discussion, Debate and Governance in the Museum James M. Bradburne 18. Ethical, Entrepreneurial or Inappropriate? Business Practices in Museums James B. Gardner 19. "Why is this here?": Art Museum Texts as Ethical Guides Pamela Z. McClusky 20. Transfer Protocols: Museum Codes and Ethics in the New Digital Environment Ross Parry 21. Sharing Conservation Ethics, Practice and Decision-Making with Museum Visitors Mary M. Brooks Part Four: Visual Culture and the Performance of Museum Ethics 22. The Body in the (White) Box: Corporeal Ethics and Museum Representation Mara Gladstone and Janet Catherine Berlo 23. Towards an Ethics of Museum Architecture Suzanne MacLeod 24. Museum Censorship Christopher B. Steiner 25. Ethics of Confrontational Drama in Museums Bjarne Sode Funch 26. Conservation Practice as Enacted Ethics Dinah Eastop 27. Bioart and Nanoart in a Museum Context: Terms of Engagement Ellen K. Levy
Janet Marstine is Lecturer and Programme Director of Art Museum and Gallery Studies at the University of Leicester. Her research focuses on museum ethics and institutional critique. Marstine is the founder and former director of the Institute of Museum Ethics at Seton Hall University. She is editor of New Museum Theory and Practice: An Introduction (Blackwell, 2005).
'...this volume is courageous and breaks new ground, with the clear purpose of
inspiring scholars and practitioners to consider their work more carefully and deeply.'– Museum Management and Curatorship
'…an excellent record of ethical thinking and theory in the early 21st century.' Vanessa Trevelyan, President of the Museums Association
'This important book brings together leading thinkers who take museum ethics beyond the policing of codes by specialists, to being the source, for the entire institution, of dynamic change, legitimacy and an enriched contribution to society…the authors present a vision of a holistic approach to ethics which transforms the museum’s capacity to create value for society'. Mark O'Neill, Head of Glasgow Museums 1998-2008
'This book is an indispensible resource for museum scholars and practitioners who want to re-fashion a more moral and humanistic foundation for museum practice. It posits that the truly ethical museum is a place of dialog and democracy that promotes social change.' Marjorie Schwarzer, John F. Kennedy University
'This new Companion is remarkable. It offers museum professionals a chance to rethink the work they do from first principles, and it offers students, who may be its most important audience, a chance to understand the museum in its largest frame.... [It] offers philosophical guidance on making the museum, and society, a better place. Indeed, this volume does more than redefine ethics for the twenty-first century museum. It redefines the museum.' Steven Lubar, Brown University