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Museum Studies

Research Guide: General Museum Resources Compiled by Professor Gregory Stevens, M.A.T. Director, Master of Arts in Museum Professions Seton Hall University

Introduction

This research guide has been compiled to provide students with a comprehensive source of information about the museum field. This research guide provides at-a-glance information about museum organizations and seminal literature that guides museum practice—whether you plan to be a curator, educator, exhibit designer, registrar, or director. This information will be helpful to students engaged in assignments or projects that require research—whether a class assignment, a virtual exhibition, or master’s thesis/project.

The museum field is complex, made up of a wide range of types and sizes of cultural institutions, from large, encyclopedic art museums to children’s museums and science centers, to small historic houses and monuments. The museum field is constantly changing, having witnessed a dramatic shift in recent decades from being primarily collections-focused to visitor-centered. Museums are increasingly reaching new and broader audiences through technology and new media, while simultaneously grappling with our fundamental goal as educational institutions: to tell important stories with, for, and about the diverse world in which we live and the people with whom we share the planet.

Most recently, the museum field finds itself at a historic moment of transition, brought on by a global pandemic causing museums to shutter for months and resulting in loss of revenue and massive layoffs and furloughs of museum staff. While trying to best address the health and safety of visitors and staff, (and our collections), the pandemic has also forced museums to reimagine their strategic business models to be more sustainable now and for the future. Compounding this major reckoning is the increasing responsibility for museums to address and correct decades (centuries) of systemic racism, inequity, lack of representation, and other social issues that collectively have resulted in a field of institutions that are strikingly lacking in diversity at every level—board, leadership, staff, collections, exhibitions, programming, visitors, communities, and those choosing to enter the field through museum studies or similar professional training programs.

While this guide is comprehensive, it is by no means exhaustive. There are many sources of museum-related information that may appear in your research. If you find a source that is not included in this guide, please let me know!

Gregory Stevens

Director, Master of Arts in Museum Professions

Seton Hall University

Research Guide: General Museum Resources

Compiled by 

Professor Gregory Stevens, M.A.T.

Director, Master of Arts in Museum Professions

Seton Hall University

gregory.stevens@shu.edu

Table of Contents

 

Table of Contents

Introduction 

Museum Associations/Organizations 

Global/International Museum Organizations 

U.S. Museum Associations/Foundations/Professional Organizations 

Museum-related Federal Agencies 

National Museum Associations/Organizations/Foundations 

Regional Museum Associations/Organizations 

State Museum Associations/Organizations 

Northeast/Mid-Atlantic 

Midwest 

South 

West 

Selected Museum Literature/Resources 

Journals/Magazines/Periodicals 

Blogs/Online Communities/Online Resources 

Books 

Major Publishers 

Careers 

Collections Stewardship/Curatorial Practice 

Communication/Media/Technology 

Education/Exhibitions/Interpretation/Visitor Experience 

Museum History/Function 

Museum Leadership/Planning 

Museum Studies/Museology 

Museums and Social Issues/Change/Ethics 

Selected Museum-related Researchers/Organizations 

Museum Sources/Organizations

Museum Associations/Organizations

Most museum organizations on the global, national, regional, and state level offer a range of useful resources—advocacy, affinity groups/communities of practice, articles, blogs, online communities, professional publications, professional develop programs and career resources, research, and standards and best practices. These organizations and their respective resources offer guidance and perspective on museum practice.

  • Global/International Museum Organizations
  • U.S. Museum Associations/Foundations/Professional Organizations

Museum-Related Federal Agencies

National Museum Associations/Organizations/Foundations

Regional Museum Associations/Organizations

State Museum Associations              

Selected Museum Literature/Resources - Journals/Magazines/Periodicals

Selected Museum Literature/Resources

The museum field has a long tradition of producing professional and scholarly literature focused on every aspect of museum practice, including the history and function of museums, planning and leading a museum, collections stewardship, exhibition and education programming, social issues, and technology.

  • Journals/Magazines/Periodicals
  • Blogs/Online Communities/Online Resources

Selected Museum Literature/Resources - Books

  • Books (APA 7th ed.)

Major publishers of museum-related literature include the following:

Careers/Working in Museums

Collections Stewardship/Curatorial Practice

Communication/Marketing/Media/Technology

Education/Interpretation/Visitor Experience

Selected Museum Literature/Resources - Books (Continued)

Museum Leadership/Legal/Planning

Museum History/Museology/Museum Studies/Museum Theory

Selected Museum Literature/Resources - Books (Continued)  

Museum Leadership/Legal/Planning

Museums and Social Issues/Change/Ethics

Selected Museum-related Researchers/Organizations

Selected Museum-related Researchers/Organizations

The following represent a few of the leading researchers and organizations engaged in research and study that focuses on and impacts the museum field and cultural sector.