Seeking out resources that address museums and inclusion can be challenging. Sometimes the topic can seem so broad that one might not know where to start. When we first started The Incluseum in 2012, we perceived a notable lack of sufficient research or specific examples addressing best practices for inclusion in museums. The reference list below reflects an evolving list of resources, many of which have been invaluable to us in our work and education and will likely be helping us far into the future!
What inclusion resources have been useful to you? Leave your suggestions as a comment and we will add them to The Incluseum reference list so that the word can keep spreading! [We apologize if links are broken. While we aim to verify and update links on a yearly basis, they might not all be up to date.]
American Alliance of Museums. (2018). Facing Change: Insights from the American Alliance of Museums’ Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion Working Group.
Autism in the Museum This website offers examples and resources to museums and other informal educational setting interested in engaging with children on the autism spectrum. This site was launched by Lisa Jo Rudy, a museum writer, consultant, and mother of a teen with an autism spectrum diagnosis. She’s been involved with researching, writing, training, and consulting on autism and inclusion since 2006.
Center for the Future of Museums.* (2008). Museums & Society 2034: Trends and Potential Futures. (Chapters of particular interest: The Changing Face of America), (2010). Demographic Transformation and the Future of Museums, (2012). Trends Watch 2012: Museums and the Pulse of the Future. (Chapters of particular interest: Takin’ it to the Streets and Creative Aging.) *The Center releases reports annually. The most recent publications can be accessed here.
Chicago Cultural Accessibility Consortium has compiled a list of cultural accessibility and inclusion resources for everything from exhibition design to presentations.
Cooper Hewitt Interaction Lab (2021). Tools and Approaches for Transforming Museum Experience.
Dodd, J., & Sandell, R. (2001). Including Museums: Perspectives on Museums, Galleries and Social Inclusion. Research Center for Museums and Galleries: University of Leicester.
The Empathetic Museum. This blog is a collaborative effort that explores what a culture of empathy looks like in museums.
From the Margins to the Core? An international conference that explored the shifting roles and increasing significance of diversity and equality in contemporary museum and heritage policy and practice. Conference videos, reflections, and papers.
Garibay, C. & Olson, J. M. (2020). Cultural Competency Learning Institute (CCLI) National Landscape Study: The State of DEAI Practices in Museums.
Group for Large Local Authority Museums. (2000). Museums and Social Inclusion: GLLAM Report. Research Center for Museums and Galleries: University of Leicester.
Jackson, M. R. and Herranz, J. (2003, November 1). Art and Culture in Communities: Unpacking Participation.
The International Coalition of Sites of Conscience: “…sites, individuals, and initiatives activating the power of places of memory to engage the public in connecting past and present in order to envision and shape a more just and humane future.” Organizations can join as members and gain access to resources, training and capacity building strategies provided by the Coalition.
Lopez, M. and Candiano, J. Room to Grow: A Guide to Arts Programming in Community Spaces for Families Affected by Autism. (2012).
Middleton, Margaret. Selected Writing including “Queer Possibility” in The Journal of Museum Education (2020) and “Feminine Exhibition Design” in Exhibition (2019).
Matarasso, F. (1997). Use or Ornement?: The Social Impact of Participation in the Arts. Comedia.
Multimodal Approaches to Learning Conference: Podcasts. A selection of presentations at the Multimodal Approaches to Learning Conferences, co-sponsored by Art Education for the Blind and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and held at the Met.
Museum as Site for Social Action (2018). MASS Action Toolkit and Readiness Assessment and MASS Action Blog.
Museums & Race 2016 Reading List. Compiled by Planning Team Leaders and Facilitators of the Museum & Race 2016 Convening in Chicago.
Museums & Race Collective Liberation: Disrupt, Dismantle, Manifest Convening (2021). Youtube Channel that archives sessions from the the Collective Liberation Convening supported by the Museum Equity Coalition.
Museums and Society. This is a free, peer-reviewed, online journal published by the University of Leicester’s School of Museum Studies. Some issues have interesting articles that touch on themes of social inclusion and representation.
National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). When the Going Gets Tough Report: Barriers and Motivations Affecting Arts Attendance. (2015)
trivedi, nikhil. “Pronoun Stickers at MCN 2016.” Museum Computers Network Blog, (2016).
The Pop-Up Museum is a project directed by the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History. The site hosts a great how-to, organizer’s kit and many examples of past pop-ups. You can even submit information regarding your own pop-up museum!
Reach & Associates. (2010). Who’s Coming to Your Museum?
Resources for the Museum Industry to Discuss the Issue of Unpaid Internships. (2015). American Alliance of Museums.
Sandell, R. (2003). Social Inclusion, the Museum and the Dynamics of Sectoral Change. Museum and Society, 1 (1), 45–62.
Sidford, H. (2010). Fusing Arts, Culture and Social Change: High Impact Strategies for Philanthropy. National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy. (A recent analysis of this report here.)
Social Justice Alliance of Museum aims to build an international platform to promote best practices related to social justice and democracy in museums. The site hosts many inspiring case studies.
Southern Poverty Law Center’s, “Who’s Heritage? Public Symbols of the Confederacy” Report. (2016).
Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center. (2016). Crosslines: A Culture Lab on Intersectionality.
Visitors of Color. A wonderful site compiling voices and perspectives of visitors of color as they reflect on museums.
Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience. Top 10 Principles for Community-Based Work (scroll to “Our Values”).
Barrett, J. (2010). Museums and the Public Sphere. John Wiley and Sons.
Bourdieu, P. (1993). The Field of Cultural Production. Columbia University Press. (Bourdieu conducted early and extensive audience research at European art museums. Conclusions of research address class barriers to access/social exclusion.)
Brown, C., Wood, E., & Salgado G. (Eds.). (2009). Inspiring Action: Museums and Social Change. London: MuseumsEtc.
Catlin-Legutko, C. & Taylor, C. (Eds.). (2021). The Inclusive Museum Leader. Rowman & Littlefield.
FWD:Museums Journal “strives to create a space for challenging, critiquing, and fostering new futures for cultural production within and outside of museums.” The Journal is produced and edited by students at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). Its home is UIC’s Museum and Exhibition Studies Program and it is published by Chicago-based StepSister Press.
Gurian, E. (2010). From Soloist to Impresario. In F. Cameron and L. Kelly (eds.) Hot Topics, Public Culture, Museums. Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
Gurian, E. (2010). Museums as Soup Kitchen. Curator: The Museum Journal 53(1), 71-85.
Kreps, Christina. (2003). Liberating Culture. Routledge.
Lonetree, Amy. (2012). Decolonizing Museums. UNC Press. (A project of First Peoples: New Directions in Indigenous Studies.)
Lott, L. & Cole, J. (2019). Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion in Museums. Rowman & Littlefield.
Morse, Nuala. (2021). The Museum as a Space of Social Care. New York: Routledge.
Museums and Social Issues. (This is a peer-reviewed journal that explores contemporary social issues and their engagement with museums. Most issues are relevant to the theme of social inclusion in museums)
Murawski, M. (2021). Museums as Agents of Change. Rowman & Littlefield.
Sandell, R. (Ed.). (2002). Museums, Society, Inequality. New York: Routledge. (This book presents international examples of museums working towards social inclusion.)
Sandell, R. & Nightingale, E. (Eds.). (2012). Museums, Equality, and Social Justice. New York: Routledge.
Sandell, R. & Janes, R. (Eds.). (2019). Museum Activism. New York: Routledge.
Shellman, C. (2022). Effective Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Access, and Anti-Racism Practices for Museums: From the Inside Out. Rowman & Littlefield.
Silverman, L. (2010). The Social Work of Museums. London: Routledge.
Sullivan Sorin, G. (2007) The Problem of the 21st Century is Still the Color Line. Museums & Social Issues 2(1), 11-44. ( If you are interested in the Sorin & Ladson Billings articles then check out the article by Liz Dwyer)
Teslow, T. (2007). A Troubled Legacy: Making and Unmaking Race in the Museum. Museums & Social Issues, 2(1), 11–44.
ONLINE & PRINT: APPLICABLE TO THE MUSEUM FIELD AND BEYOND
You can read more about racial justice specific resources here.
Racial Equity Tools is designed to support individuals and groups working to achieve racial equity. This site offers tools, research, tips, curricula and ideas for people who want to increase their own understanding and to help those working toward justice at every level – in systems, organizations, communities and the culture at large.
A syllabus on Urban Design, Race and Justice posted on CityLab.com here.
#FergusonSyllabus, a crowdsourced syllabus about race, African American history, civil rights, and policing. Find an associated Atlantic piece about the syllabus here.
Applied Research Center. (2011). Racial Equity Impact Assessment Toolkit.
Eck, D. L. (2006). From Diversity to Pluralism. On Common Ground: World Religions in America, Columbia University Press.
Hayward, C. R., & Swanstrom, T. (2011). Justice and the American Metropolis. U of Minnesota Press.
Ladson-Billings, G. (2006). From the Achievement Gap to the Education Debt: Understanding Achievement in U.S. Schools. Educational Researcher, 35(7), 3 –12.
Linares & Woolard. (2021) Solidarity Not Charity. Arts & Culture Grantmaking in the Solidarity Economy, A Rapid Report. Grantmakers in the Arts.
Low, S. Taplin, D. and S. Scheld. (2005). Rethinking Urban Parks: Public Space and Cultural Diversity. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press.
Thanks so much for this useful resource! Have you seen a good overview of what it means to be a decolonized or post-colonial museum?
Thanks for your inquiry!
-Thinking through the Museum is a project currently happening in Canada that can offer some clues: http://thinkingthroughthemuseum.org/
-Chandra Frank’s essay Towards a Decolonial Curatorial Practice is great: http://www.chandrafrank.com/towards-a-decolonial-curatorial-practice/
-And Amy Lonetree’s Decolonizing Museums is a fantastic reference: http://uncpress.unc.edu/books/11761.html
Let us know if you’ve come across other references on the topic that we can add to this list.
Outstanding! Thank you so much!