AAM-Recommended Books on the Social Value of Museums

Routledge is proud to offer 5 titles recommended as resources by the American Alliance of Museums, supporting this year's annual meeting theme of The Social Value of Museums: Inspiring Change.

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Reflecting the way museums have always contributed toward community well-being and recent developments that have encouraged even more visitor-centered practices, the theme for this year’s AAM Annual Meeting was The Social Value of Museums: Inspiring Change. The meeting in Atlanta encouraged attendees “to consider how we embody this spirit through our educational mission, our programs and collections, our community presence and our public service.”

Robert R. Janes, author of multiple books including Museums and the Paradox of Change, emphasizes the importance of this theme, noting that “museums of all kinds are ideally placed to foster individual and community participation in the quest for greater awareness and workable solutions to our global problems.”

Janes says that because museums “already have what they need to act as agents of change and catalysts for well-being, they can readily serve as the vital bridge between science and the public interest in addressing the critical issues confronting global society.”

To help museum professionals think about this year’s theme, the AAM recommended 5 Routledge books as resources on the social value of museums. We invite you to explore the books below.

  • Museums, Equality and Social Justice

    Edited by Richard Sandell, Eithne Nightingale

    The last two decades have seen concerns for equality, diversity, social justice and human rights move from the margins of museum thinking and practice, to the core. The arguments – both moral and pragmatic – for engaging diverse audiences, creating the conditions for more equitable access to museum…

    Paperback – 2012-04-23
    Museum Meanings

  • The Social Work of Museums

    By Lois H. Silverman

    Museums may not seem at first glance to be engaged in social work. Yet, Lois H. Silverman brings together here relevant visitor studies, trends in international practice, and compelling examples that demonstrate how museums everywhere are using their unique resources to benefit human relationships…

    Paperback – 2009-11-25

  • Museums in a Troubled World

    Renewal, Irrelevance or Collapse?

    By Robert R. Janes

    Are Museums Irrelevant? Museums are rarely acknowledged in the global discussion of climate change, environmental degradation, the inevitability of depleted fossil fuels, and the myriad local issues concerning the well-being of particular communities – suggesting the irrelevance of museums as…

    Paperback – 2009-05-18
    Museum Meanings

  • Museums, Prejudice and the Reframing of Difference

    By Richard Sandell

    How, if it all, do museums shape the ways in which society understands difference? In recent decades there has been growing international interest amongst practitioners, academics and policy makers in the role that museums might play in confronting prejudice and promoting human rights and…

    Paperback – 2006-11-01

  • Civilizing the Museum

    The Collected Writings of Elaine Heumann Gurian

    By Elaine Heumann Gurian

    Written over a thirty-five year career, the essays in Civilizing the Museum introduce students to the powerful, sometimes contested, and often unrealized notion that museums should welcome all because they house the collective memory of all. Drawing on her experience working in and with…

    Paperback – 2005-12-19