Reading Corner | Museum Management

This section is organised in reverse chronological order. Apart from individual publications and articles there are a few more general resources, you can find them below the list of articles in a separate section. Resources may also include publication series that are constantly growing (e.g. periodicals that are being updated continuously or receive additions).

Arts Council England (2016): Museum Development Impact Evaluation. The evaluation was commissioned to measure the impact of museum development activities performed by the Arts Council from 2012-2015.
Museum Development seeks to help Accredited museums in England be more resilient, to help them to continue to improve their offer to their visitors and local communities. It can serve as a resource for successful measurement factors (e.g. missing data or inconsistent records are listed as one of the issues in conducting the evaluation), as well as ideas for national active museum organisations as to what to consider within such programmes.

Communia (June 2016): Best Case Scenarios for Copyright series: In the series shared on the Communia blog four examples of copyright policies, such as user-friendly copyright limitations or dealing with freedom of panorama, from Portugal, France, Estonia and Finland are presented. You can click through individual blog posts, each focusing on one of the countries' legal response to a certain aspect of copyright.

International Network for Contemporary Performing Arts (IETM)/José Luis Rodriguez (2016): To sell or not to sell? An introduction to  business models (innovation) for arts and cultural organisations. The toolkit aims to clarify the key concepts and definitions related to business models and business models innovation, possibly overcoming prejudices in the process; it then proposes a business model canvas tailored to the specific characteristics of arts and cultural organisations, and illustrates how some cultural organisations across Europe have successfully innovated their business models. It provides a practical approach to the matter.

Culture Action Europe (2016): Cultural (Non) Participation in EU Member Countries: Using Evidences from EUROBAROMETER and notions related to well-being to better understand and help sharing strategies. The publication introduces and explains the data contained in the "Special Eurobarometer 399: Cultural access and participation" (EBS399), conducted in 2013. The description of the available information and the format of the data tables are helping practitioners to formulate their strategic questions and serve as an evidence-base for checking ways to expand the audience in various segments of their respective societies. The data is made accessible here.

In July 2016,  the third edition of the Eurostat pocket book on culture statistics was released. The volume contains a number of new features, broadening the scope of "culture statistics" ever more.

BOP Consulting (Editor) (September 2016): Character Matters: Attitudes, behaviours and skills in the UK Museum Workforce. The report was commissioned by Arts Council England, Museums Galleries Scotland, the Museums Association, and the Association of Independent Museums. The researchers asked what attitudes, behaviours and skills the UK museum workforce already has and would need in the next 10 years, what is already invested and what the support looks like. The report shows where investment is most needed to best support the museum sector, and highlights areas of future development. It offers 30 recommendations in the area of recruitment, skills and knowledge, training and continuing professional development, organisational development, and sector development and shares the in-depth analysis of the current and future state with outside and inside views.

Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History (2016): Advocacy Policy: How should museums respond to request from other cultural organisations and partners to support their advocacy initiatives? Many museums do not have a clear concept or policy for these issues or the decision-making process takes a long time. Following one of these requests the MAH in Santa Cruz decided to establish such a policy and has shared it with the public for reference.

Political Advocacy: Organising Political Internships

Netherlands Museum Association (2015): Material for political internships. The Netherlands Museums Association (Museum Vereniging) started an innovative initiative to support and foster museums advocacy. The political internships are a format developed by the association to help museums get their social significance across to politicians and other stakeholders. The internships are part of the continuous programme "More than worth it" (find out more about the programme here by scrolling down to the section about "More than worth it"). To support other organisations in similar initiatives the Netherlands Museums Association has made its material on the matter available on NEMO's website.

Document 1 is a step-by-step guide to prepare for the organisation of a political internship. Document 2 shares the do's and don'ts when you are organising a museum internship for a politician. Document 3 contains an examplary planning programme for the political internship.

EnDOW (February 2016): Report: Requirements for Dilligent Search in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Italy: The report presents early results of the 3-year research project EnDOW (Enhancing access to 20th Century cultural heritage through Distributed Orphan Works clearance). The Working Paper describes the current situations in the UK, the Netherlands and Italy, including the legal implementation of the Orphan Works Exception and the consequences for the dilligent search. The analysis has shown that the amount of diverse sources to consult for a dilligent search is extremely high. As a result of the first findings the study suggests a possible solution to this problem. Firstly, "soft-law intervention" should establish hierarchies among sources for Diligent Search. Secondly, it is suggested that "a Diligent Search should be considered to be carried out in good faith also when sources that are not freely accessible online are disregarded."

SCCA–Ljubljana & Planting Rice, Manila: Curating-In-Depth (December 2015): The toolkit was created as a result of an incubation project of the same name between non-governmental institutions from Asia and Europe to develop curatorial education. It connected initiatives in the field of curatorial practices and the production of visual arts exhibitions. The documentation of this exchange is collected in this publication. During the lectures at the exchange opinions, experiences and approaches were shared, which can serve as an inspiration to others for the curation of exhibitions.

NEMO study "Museums and Copyright"

NEMO: Report "Survey on Museums and Copyright" (15 August 2015): In light of European and national governments currently reviewing their approach to copyrights, NEMO has published a European-wide study on the issues, questions and problems that museums have with regard to copyright. Governments around Europe are re-thinking their approach to copyright, both on European as on national level. Since Copyright impacts on many aspects of museum work, museums need to make sure to be part of the discussions!
With this survey NEMO sought to give an overview of "real life" museum practice and IPR-related problems. Through the feedback from museums all over Europe, NEMO was able to produce well-supported recommendations for how copyright in Europe should be shaped to help museums with ensuring the best public access possible to their collections.

The relevant museum: defining relevance in museological practices (2015) by Jane K. Nielsen. In the article the concept of relevance as it is discussed in connection with museological development and participation is examined by Nielsen. The idea of relevant experiences in relation to exhibitions and strategies in the museum is discussed in museums worldwide and the article offers a definition of the term in the museological context. Three examples back the theoretical approach and present concrete strategies and projects executed to develop collections, visitor interaction, cooperation and political influences on cultural heritage.

As a result of the Pride, Joy and Surplus Value project (September 2014 - November 2015) with five cultural heritage organisations in Denmark, Sweden and Norway and the Nordic Centre of Heritage Learning and Creativity AB (NCK) a toolkit, based especially on the comparison of different frameworks and findings of a study on volunteers, was developed. The Toolkit for Recruiting and Managing Volunteers in Museums Across the Nordic Region is a great resource for institutions wishing to develop or improve their work with volunteers. "The first part offers some reflections upon different important aspects of the process of recruiting and managing volunteers, and the second part consists of templates and checklists that can be used as guides through the stages of recruiting and managing."

"Is This The Museum We Wanted?" (2014) was a site- and context-specific project at the Tartu Art Museum in Estonia. The approach towards the project is documented in this publication of the same name, which offers numerous questions that museums, exhibition developers and educational institutions can ask along the way when creating new exhibitions. Some questions are very specific towards the project, still the publication conveys a general idea of questions to ask and steps to take as well as perspectives to take. Most of the questions appear provocative, which resulted in a well thought through exhibtion and might be a stumbling block for others and their projects.

TrendsWatch 2014

TrendsWatch 2014 is the third edition of this accessible, provocative, insightful report from AAM's Center for the Future of Museums (CFM). Elizabeth Merritt, CFM's founding director, has written another engaging survey of pivotal societal trends destined to impact museums, providing examples of how leading institutions are already ahead of what's to come. Read before opening PDF: Apropos of two of the trends covered in this year's report - big data and privacy - the attached PDF is different from last year's report in a subtle but important way. Embedded in the document is a tracking code (aka, the "magic chip") that counts when the report is opened or printed, and reports these stats back to CFM. Tracking the distribution of the free PDF provides the information we need to attract underwriting for the report. If you are uncomfortable with having this data recording, you can wait and buy a print copy or the enhanced digital edition from the Alliance Bookstore (both coming soon).

Organizing Exhibitions, A handbook for museums, libraries and archives

Organizing Exhibitions, A handbook for museums, libraries and archives - (2014) by, Freda Matassa. The book covers the main aspects of organising an exhibition. It offers clear, structured guidance from the idea to the concept and the execution, while focusing on the practical steps rather than solely the design of an exhibition. With a broad approach on all things that need to be considered the book is a suitable resource for everyone planning and developing a curated exhibition.

Governance of Cultural Institutions - (2013) Royal Irish Academy. The publication was part of a seminar held by the Royal Irish Academyon governance. Therein international practices of governance are introduced. As the aim was to provide a better idea of (new) governance in the cultural sector in Ireland the different implications of new governance and structures are mentioned, including processes of fundraising and change management.

"Museum System" in Italy

'Museum System in Italy' is a research conducted by the Iulm University of Milan for Aspen Institute Italia in 2013.
The overall aim of the research undertaken was to assess the state of Italian museum networks. The term "museum systems" coined more strict than"museum network" describes a network with defined rules. For the study the drivers for the developments of such systems where analysed, followed by a closer examination of specific examples and case studies. It was of interest why museum systems were set up, how they worked and what their outcomes where. Especially the results of interviews with museum system managers offer a thorough insight.

Placing Europe in the Museum

"Placing Europe in the Museum" was published in 2013. The book represents the proceedings of the international conference "Placing" Europe in the Museum: People(s), Places, Identities, held at Newcastle University in September 2012. The papers relate to Research Field 01 of the MeLa Project which focuses on Museums and Identity in History and today, and will develop policy-relevant arguments concerning the cultural significance of place within museum representations for questions of contemporary European identities and notions of citizenship.

In response to an increasing demand for a debate about the care of Human Remains the German Museums Association published a recommendation on the topic in 2013. In view of the sensitivity of the issue and the insufficiency of the existing legal provisions, the GMA wanted to provide assistance to all museums and collections in Germany. The document discusses clear regulations and guidance for their day-to-day work, in particular in problematic cases and above all in connection with claims for return.
These recommendations are primarily intended for museums and universities in Germany with collections of human remains, irrespective of their geographical origin and age (both European and non-European), in particular for ethnological museums/collections, natural history museums, museums of history, archaeological museums, museums of Eu-ropaen ethnology, museums of cultural history, museums of local history and anatomi-cal-pathological, forensic or anthropological museums/collections. Further links to publications on the issue from different countries can be found here.

UNESCO "Managing Cultural World Heritage" reference manual

"Managing Cultural World Heritage" reference manual  was published in 2013. The Manual provides guidance for States Parties and all those involved in the care of World Heritage cultural properties on how to comply with the requirements of the World Heritage Convention. It also aims to help States Parties to ensure that heritage has a dynamic role in society and harnesses, but also delivers to others, the mutual benefits that such a role can create. This manual is intended as a tool for capacity-building for the effective management of heritage, and for World Heritage properties in particular.

Cultural Memory, Migrating Modernity and Museum Practices

Published in August 2012 by MeLa Projec, the intention of the contributions in this volume is to explore the parameters and paradigms of the contemporary museum - its spaces, practices and avowed purposes - in the light of the critical interrogations raised by postcolonial criticism and analyses. How are we to re-think museum studies, exhibitionary practices and archiving procedures within the radical revaluation of Occidental modernity? Such an investigation witnesses the latter's historical and cultural premises being exposed to questions and possibilities it has rarely authorized. When the unsung bodies, cultures and histories of colonialism and Empire return to ghost the contemporary world - this, too, is 'globalization' - then the manner of picturing and framing the memories of that past and present becomes a pressing and contested matter. Are we merely to adjust and enlarge an inherited frame of understanding to incorporate this critical encounter, or is something more required?

The project can be found HERE.

Developing a Collections Management Policy, American Alliance of Museums

This reference guide (2012) aims to help museums develop a collections management policy, a core document supporting a museum's mission and purpose. This guide explains what a collections management policy is, why it is important and considerations for developing one. It reflects national standards and is in line with the requirements of the Alliance's Core Documents Verification and Accreditation programs. 

Developing an Institutional Code for Ethics, American Alliance of Museums

This guide from 2012 will help museums develop an institutional code of ethics, a core document that formalizes accountability and ethical practice. This guide aims to help museums develop a better understanding of ethics by explaining what an institutional code of ethics is, why it is important and considerations for developing one. It reflects national standards and is in line with the requirements of the Alliance's Core Documents Verification and Accreditation programs. 

Developing an Institutional Plan, American Alliance of Museums

This guide (2012) aims to help museums develop their institutional plan, a core document supporting sustainability and mission. While the end result is a plan, the primary goals of this guide are to explain the importance of institutional planning, offer considerations for the process of planning and outline steps to begin planning. It reflects national standards and outlines elements of an institutional plan that are in line with the requirements of the Alliance's Core Documents Verification and Accreditation programs.

Developing a Mission Statement, American Alliance of Museums

This guide from 2012 aims to help a museum develop and refine its mission statement, the foundation on which a museum's operations and impact stand. This guide will explain the purpose and importance of a mission statement, provide some examples of them and identify considerations for creating or revising one. It reflects national standards and is in line with the requirements of the Alliance's Core Documents Verification and Accreditation programs.

KulturKontakt Austria Magazine: Cultural Sustainability

An important part of the KulturKontakt Austria (KKA) Magazine's winter issue 2012 is devoted to the concept of sustainability and its application to the field of culture. In a bilingual edition, English-German, the publication offers a general overview of this subject. On the other hand, the issue also contains articles about sustainability in education, the arts and culture, and presents ideas on how to address these questions in concrete projects and activities.

Museum Policies in Europe 1990 - 2010: Negotiating Professional and Political Utopia

Published in 2012, This EuNaMus report studies how nations develop policy in order to deploy national museums in the redefinition of the national vision. Considering museums as utopian institutions, it focusses on the negotiations between politicians and museum professionals in Europe from 1990-2010. In-depth case studies are presented from France, Norway, Estonia, Hungary and Greece, in order to examine the broad range of change occurring throughout Europe. The report also examines the EU as a new actor in these museum negotiations. The findings indicate that museums have responded to differing circumstances using five broad policy making techniques to engage in national redefinition: re-formulation, re-narration, re-mediation, re-organisation and re-professionalization. The report suggests that national and transnational narratives coexist uneasily in national museums due in large part to three competing utopian visions articulated by Europe's various policymakers: EUtopia, Multicultural Utopia, and National Historical Utopia. How museums can balance these visions is a key issue for these institutions in the years to come.

Standards for Museum Exhibitions and Indicators of Excellence, the Professional Networks Council of the American Alliance of Museums

The standards and indicators in this document, which was last updated in 2012, build on the AAM Characteristics of Excellence and help unpack them - particularly those in the Education and Interpretation section. The Characteristics represent the core standards for museums and are designed to be adaptable to museums of all types and sizes. They are used in the Alliance's Accreditation and Museum Assessment Programs, and other discipline-specific standards and assessments across the field; and underpin standards and best practices developed by the Alliance's Professional Networks.

Volunteering in the arts Toolkit

Volunteering in the arts Toolkit was published in 2012. The toolkit uses a wide range of best-practice quality assurance processes and procedures, including those that underpin the Investors in Volunteers standard. It has been produced to support small and medium-sized arts groups who struggle to improve the support they offer volunteers. The toolkit includes ideas, suggestions and recommendations as well as a range of checklists for those new to working with volunteers. It includes a range of case studies to celebrate what is already happening across the sector with some examples from the museum sector.

Building National Museums in Europe 1750-2010. Conference proceedings

Published: 2011. Conference proceedings from EuNaMus, European National Museums: Identity Politics, the Uses of the Past and the European Citizen, Bologna 28-30 April 2011. EuNaMus Report No. 1. This Open Access publication gives a comparative overview of the historical roles of national museums in state-making processes. It has been created to stimulate discussion and debate among academics, policy-makers, museum professionals and citizens. The individual author is responsible for the content of each report.

Please consult for updated information.

Coordination Unit on Tourism of the German Federation of the Blind and Partially Sighted (2011): Guidelines to ensure accessibility to museums and exhibitions for the blind and partially sighted: The guidelines are recommendations made by the unit to museums, curators and exhibtion designers. They include advice about preparatory actions as well as the process towards more accessibility itself and certain areas that are known for being problematic for visually impaired.

Guide to Funding Opportunities for the International Mobility of Artists and Cultural Professionals in Europe

Launched on Sept. 2011 by On the Move (OTM) and PRACTICS. The Guide aims to improve the availability and transparency of information to facilitate the international mobility of artists and culture professionals in the EU. The Guide is available in English HERE. A French version will be published in late 2011.

Museums Association (UK), "Diversify toolkit"

Diversity toolkit aim to create a more diverse workforce through positive-action training schemes.

The Museums Association is a membership organisation for everyone working in museums, galleries and heritage. It is the oldest museums association in the world, has 6000 individual members, 600 institutional members and 250 corporate members.

Freda Matassa (2011): Museums Collection Management, A Handbook: The main aspects of museum collections management are gathered in this book. Aimed at collection managers, the topics range from legal aspects, concepts and ideas on loans, acquisitions to sustainability and ethical issues. It includes step-by-step guides for collections management, loans and other processes that can be adapted with regard to the collections' purposes. The book serves as a good resource for collection managers.

The V&A: empire to multiculturalism?

"The V&A: empire to multiculturalism?" was published in July 2010 by Ruth Adams. The paper considers the influence of Empire at the Victoria and Albert Museum, with particular reference to the display of collections from the Indian Sub-Continent in the late 20th century. It offers an analysis of the discursive practices of the Museum drawing on postcolonial theoretical positions, in particular Said's concept of 'Orientalism'. Questions are posed regarding the extent to which the Museum has adequately addressed and reflected Britain's transformation from an imperial power to a post-colonial, multicultural society, and the need to articulate shared histories and strategies of inclusion.

A Manual for Museum Managers

A Manual for Museum Managers (2005) Authors: Dimitrios Konstantios, Nikolas Konstantios, Liana Tsombanoglou, funded by the Directorate General IV - Education, Culture and Heritage, Youth and Sport. 

ICCROM and CCI (2017): The ABC Method: a risk management approach to the preservation of cultural heritage. This manual offers a comprehensive understanding of risk management applied to the preservation of heritage assets, whether collections, buildings or sites. It provides a step-by-step procedure and a variety of tools to guide the heritage professional in applying the ABC method to their own context. The method can be applied to a range of situations, from analysis of a single risk to a comprehensive risk assessment of the entire heritage asset.

Swiss Museums Association (2017): Norms and standards - Interns at the museum. The publication of the Swiss MA shows the benefits and opportunities for the museum and the interns. It is rounded off by practical checklists about the design of content and the rights and obligations when hiring an intern. The brochure is available in German, French and Italian.

Museum For All is a European network which promotes access to culture using a collaborative, inclusive approach. The network comprises institutions and professionals from the museum sector and offers an online database of museums, which brings together information from the websites of selected cultural institutions in more than 30 European countries. The search engine, which is easy to use and adapted to different user requirements, allows potential visitors to compare information from different venues. MFA is also a place for debate, collective reflection and knowledge sharing between professionals in culture, accessibility and Design for All.

The Museums Association UK (last updated November 2015): Code of Ethics: Very often, museums are faced with ethical questions in their work. The Code of Ethics by the Museums Association of the UK is a tool that can help those working in a museum to start a process of careful reflection, consideration, reasoning and consultation when approaching questions with an ethical dimension. It shares general guidelines for museums in the areas of public engagement and public benefit; stewardship of collections; and individual and institutional integrity. The documents are updated through a collaborative exchange between museum practitioners, interest groups, funders, members of the public and other stakeholders and represent the general consensus of the sector on the ethical standards that are expected of all museums and those who work in and with them.
Furthermore, the Museums Association also shared ethical guidelines on accessibility.

Collections Trust: Toolkits and Advice on "Revisiting Collections" for Collection Management (since 2006, updated regularly): The collection of resources to enable museum professionals to apply the methodology for "Revisiting Collections" displays a number of toolkits, tools and case studies on the matter. Developed in 2006, it supports museums and archives to open up their collections for reinterpretation and knowledge capture by community groups and external experts to build and share a new understanding of the multi-layered meaning and significance of objects and records. Revisiting Collections has been built into the SPECTRUM Standard since version 3.1 and the accumulated links take you from starting to application, implementation and evaluation.

Resources: Future of Museums

AAM's Center for the Future of Museums (CFM) helps museums explore the cultural, political and economic challenges facing society and devise strategies to shape a better tomorrow. CFM is a think-tank and research and design lab for fostering creativity and helping museums transcend traditional boundaries to serve society in new ways.

Here the website

The wiki "Visual Art Education" is a Digital Resource for Students of Art Education located within the DePaul University’s Visual Art Education Program in Chicago. The website offers definitions, descriptions and further resources on different topics of Art Education. One example is the article on curatorial praxis and strategies.

Resources: Museum3

Museum3 is a non-profit organisation dedicated to the future of museums, galleries, science centres, libraries and archives.

Resources: Small Museum Association

The Small Museum Association is an all volunteer organization serving small museums in the mid-Atlantic region and beyond. SMA's mission is to develop and maintain a peer network among people who work for small museums, giving them opportunities to learn, share knowledge and support one another, so that they, in turn, can better serve their institutions, communities and profession.

Resources: The Small Museum Administrators Committee

The Small Museum Administrators Committee is a standing professional committee of the American Association of Museums. The Committee promotes the significant role of small museums as educational centers, repositories of our national cultural heritage, and organizations committed to quality of life for their communities.