Advancing the Discourse on Museum Ethics in New Book

29 06 2011
Book Cover: The Routledge Companion to Museum Ethics

Hot off the press: New volume on Museum Ethics includes our "Asians Art Museum" project

Just published!  We are pleased to announce that our project is included in this new book:

The Routledge Companion to Museum Ethics:
Redefining Ethics for the Twenty-First Century Museum

Edited by Janet C. Marstine
Published June 2011 – 486 pages

Professors can request a Complimentary Exam Copy here.

From Routledge: (our emphases)

“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.

[That last part sounds exactly like what critics were—and still are—calling for since Ai Weiwei lost his freedom.]

Our “Asians Art Museum” project is detailed in Part Four: Visual Culture and the Performance of Museum Ethics, in a chapter on “Museum Censorship” by Christopher B. Steiner.

We’re proud to play a role in advancing the discourse, in a meaningful epilogue to the de Young Museum’s censorship of this project.

We found out about the book serendipitously, through our participation in a debate on “the Social Value of Museums” on Leicester Exchanges.

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