A Practical Guide to Museum Ethics (eBook)

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  • 82,391 Words
  • 240 Pages

Are your collections up for grabs? Does the spouse of one of your trustees have too much to say about developing the exhibition schedule? How much is too much public participation? Where does a curator’s authority begin and end?

With money increasingly difficult to raise, is a museum more likely to accede to potential funders’ demands even when those demands might compromise the museum’s integrity? When a museum is struggling with debilitating debt, should the sale of selected items from its collections and the use of the resulting proceeds bring the museum into a more stable financial position? When a museum attempts to build its attendance and attract local visitors by crowdsourcing exhibitions, is it undermining its integrity? Ethical questions about museum activities are legion, yet they are usually only discussed when they become headlines in newspapers. Museum staff respond to such problems under pressure, often unable to take the time required to think through the sensitive and complex issues involved.

Grounded in a series of case studies,
A Practical Guide to Museum Ethics confronts types of ethical dilemmas museums face and explores attempts to resolve them in chapters dealing with


  • accessibility, disability, and diversity;
  • collections;
  • conflict of interest;
  • governance;
  • management;
  • deaccessioning; and
  • accountability and transparency.

Suitable for classroom use as well as a professional reference, here is a comprehensive, practical guide for dealing with ethical issues in museums.

Are your collections up for grabs? Does the spouse of one of your trustees have too much to say about developing the exhibition schedule? How much is too much public participation? Where does a curator’s authority begin and end?

With money increasingly difficult to raise, is a museum more likely to accede to potential funders’ demands even when those demands might compromise the museum’s integrity? When a museum is struggling with debilitating debt, should the sale of selected items from its collections and the use of the resulting proceeds bring the museum into a more stable financial position? When a museum attempts to build its attendance and attract local visitors by crowdsourcing exhibitions, is it undermining its integrity? Ethical questions about museum activities are legion, yet they are usually only discussed when they become headlines in newspapers. Museum staff respond to such problems under pressure, often unable to take the time required to think through the sensitive and complex issues involved.

Grounded in a series of case studies,
A Practical Guide to Museum Ethics confronts types of ethical dilemmas museums face and explores attempts to resolve them in chapters dealing with


  • accessibility, disability, and diversity;
  • collections;
  • conflict of interest;
  • governance;
  • management;
  • deaccessioning; and
  • accountability and transparency.

Suitable for classroom use as well as a professional reference, here is a comprehensive, practical guide for dealing with ethical issues in museums.


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