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Selected Readings and Online References

An introduction to literature and websites on museum topics and functions, and professional education

A Dozen Books Every Museum Should Own

Codes of Ethics and Practice of Interest to Museums.  Washington, D.C.: American Association of Museums, 2000.

Diamond, Judy. Practical Evaluation Guide:  Tools for Museums and Other Informal Educational Settings.  Walnut Creek, Cal.: AltaMira Press, 1999.

Gardner, J.B., and E. Merritt.  The AAM Guide to Collections Planning.  Washington, D.C.: American Association of Museums, 2004.

Herman, Robert D., ed.  The Jossey-Bass Handbook of Nonprofit Leadership and Management. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1994.

Kotler, Neil, Philip Kotler and Wendy Kotler. Museum Marketing and Strategy: Designing Missions, Building Audiences, Generating Revenue and Resources.  2nd edition  New York:  Jossey-Bass / John Wiley. Inc., 2008.

Leifer, Jacqueline Corey, and Michael B. Glomb. The Legal Obligations of Nonprofit Boards: A Guidebook for Board Members.  Washington, D.C.: BoardSource, 1992.

Listen, David, ed. Museum Security and Protection: A Handbook for Cultural Heritage Institutions.  Paris, London, and New York: International Council of Museums and Routledge, 1993.

Malaro, Marie.  A Legal Primer on Managing Museum Collections, 2nd ed. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Press, 1998.

National Task Force on Emergency Response. The Emergency Response and Salvage Wheel. Washington, D.C.: Heritage Preservation, 1997.

Phelan, Marilyn E. Museum Law. Evanston, Il.: Kalos Kapp Press, 2001.

Potvin, Ron M.  and Malgorzata Rymsza-Pawlowska, ”A Selected Compilation of Historic House Museum Resources,“ July 2008

Standard Facility Report, rev. 2nd edition. Washington, D.C.: Registrars Committee of the American Association of Museums, 1998.

Weil, Stephen E.  Making Museums Matter. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 2002.


Museum Studies:  A Brief Introduction to Theory, Role, History, and Philosophy  

Alexander, Edward P. The Museum in America.
Walnut Creek, Cal.: AltaMira Press, 1997.

Anderson, Gail.  Reinventing the Museum: Historical and Contemporary
Perspectives on  the Paradigm Shift. Walnut Creek, Cal.: AltaMira Press, 2004.

Carbonell, Bettina Messias, ed.  Museum Studies: An Anthology of Contexts.
Malden, Mass.: Blackwell Publishing, 2004.

Crane, Susan A., ed. Museums and Memory. Stanford, Cal.: Stanford University
Press, 2000.

Dana, John Cotton. The New Museum: Selected Writings by John Cotton Dana.
Washington, D.C.: American Association of Museums, 1999.

Gardner, James B., and Peter S. LaPaglia, eds.  Public History: Essays from theField.  
Malabar, Fla.: Krieger Publishing, 1999.

Graubard, Stephen R., ed.  Datalist: America’s Museums, vol. 128, no.3.
Cambridge, Mass.: American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1999.

Hooper-Greenhill, Eilean. Museums and the Shaping of Knowledge.
London: Routledge, 1992.

Karp, Ivan, Christine Mullen Kreamer, and Steven D. Lavine, eds. Museums andCommunities: The Politics of Public Culture.
Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1992.

Karp, Ivan, and Steven D. Lavine, eds.  Exhibiting Cultures: the Politics andpoetics of Display.
Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press,1991.

Macdonald, Sharon, and Gordon Fyfe, eds.  Theorizing Museums: RepresentingIdentity and Diversity in a Changing World.
Oxford: Blackwell:  TheSociological Review, 1996.

Pearce, Susan M.  Museums, Objects and Collections: A Cultural Study
Leicester,  U.K.:  Leicester University Press, 1992.

Ripley, S. Dillion.  Sacred Grove: Essays on Museums.  New York: Simon and Schuster, 1969.

Roberts, Lisa. From Knowledge to Narrative:  Educators and the Changing Museum.
Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1997.

Spalding, Julian.  The Poetic Museum: Reviving Historic Collections. Munich, London, New York: Prestel, 2002.


Planning and Organizing a New Museum

American Association of Museums.  Organizing Your Museum:  The Essentials
Washington, D.C.: American Association of Museums, 1989.

Anderson, Gail.  Museum Mission Statements.  Washington, D.C.: American Association of  Museums, 1998.

George, Jerry and Cindy Sherrell-Leo. Starting Right: A Basic Guide to Museum Planning.
Walnut Creek, Cal.: AltaMira Press, 2004. 

Lord, Barry, and Gail Dexter Lord. The Manual of Museum Planning. Walnut Creek, Cal.: AltaMira Press, 2002.

Science Center Planning


Administration and Management

Buck, Rebecca, and J. Gilmore, eds. The New Museum Registration Methods.  Washington, D.C.: American Association of Museums, 1998.

Cutler, Charlene Perkins, Naomi Joshi, and Katheryn P.Veins.  The Employer’s Handbook: A Guide to Personnel Practices and Policies for Museums, 2nd ed. Arlington, Mass.: New England Museums Association, 2004.

Gross, Malvern J., Jr., Richard F. Larkin, and John H. McCarthy. Financial and Accounting Guide for Not-For-Profit Organizations, 6th ed.  New York: John Wiley and Sons, 2000.

Lord, Barry and Gail Dexter Lord.  The Manual of Museum Planning.  Walnut Creek, Cal.: AltaMira Press, 2002.

Standard Facility Report, rev. 2nd ed. Washington, D.C.: Registrars Committee of the American Association of Museums, 1998.

Standard Practices Handbook for Museums.  Edmondton, Can.: The Alberta Museums Association, 2002.

Suchy, Sherene.  Leading with Passion: Change Management in the 21st Century Museum.  Walnut Creek, Cal.:  AltaMira Press, 2004.

Tempel, Eugene R., ed. Achieving Excellence in Fund Raising, 2nd ed.  San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2003.

Wilson, J. Andrew, “Protecting Cultural Heritage Properties From Fire,” American Association for State and Local History Technical Leaflet no. 206, in History News, vol. 54, no. 3, Summer 1999.


Fundamentals of Collections Management—A Core Library Shelf

Bachmann, Konstanze, ed.  Conservation Concerns: A Guide for Collectors and Curators.  Washington, D.C.:  Smithsonian Institution Press, 1992.

Buck, Rebecca and J. Gilmore, ed.  The New Museum Registration Methods.  Washington, D.C.: American Association of Museums, 1998.Canadian Conservation Institute.  CCI Notes.  CCI, 1998.

Gardner, J.B., and E. Merritt.  The AAM Guide to Collections Planning. Washington, D.C.:  American Association of Museums, 2004.

Malaro, Marie.  A Legal Primer on Managing Museum Collections, 2nd. ed. Washington, D.C.:  Smithsonian Press, 1998.

Museums Alberta.  Standard Practices Handbook for Museums, 2nd ed. Alberta, Can.:  2001.

Ogden, Sherelyn.  Preservation Planning: Guidelines for Writing a Long-Range Plan.  AAM / Northeast Document Conservation Center, 1997.

Rose, Carolyn L., C. Hawks, and H. Genoways, eds.  Storage of Natural History Collections: A Preventive Conservation Approach, vol. 1. Calgary, Can.:  Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections, 1995.

Shapiro, Michael S., and B. Miller.  A Museum Guide to Copyright and Trademark. Washington, D.C.:  American Association of Museums, 1999.

Simmons, John.  Collections Management Policies.  Washington, D.C.: American Association of Museums, 2004.

Weil, Stephen.  A Deaccession Reader.  Washington, D.C.:  American Association of  Museums, 1997.

Citations selected by William G. Tompkins, National Collections Coordinator, Smithsonian Institution Archives.



Ames, L. Kenneth, Barbara Franco, and L. Thomas Frye.  Ideas and Images: Developing Interpretive History Exhibits.  Nashville: American Association for State and Local History, 1992.

Belcher, Michael.  Exhibitions in Museums. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1991.

Greenberg, Reesa, Bruce Ferguson, and Sandy Nairne, eds. Thinking About Exhibitions. New York: Routledge, 1996.

Hall, Margaret. On Display: a Design Grammar for Museum Exhibitions.  London: Lund Humphries, 1987.

Hipschman, Ron.  Exploratorium Cookbook III: A Construction Manual for Exploratorium Exhibits.  San Francisco: The Exploratorium, 1987.

Klein, Larry.  Exhibits: Planning and Design.  New York: Madison Square Press, 1986.

Lord, Barry, and Gail Lord. The Management of Museum Exhibitions.  Walnut Creek, Cal.: AltaMira Press, 2002.

McLean, Kathleen. Planning for People in Museum Exhibitions. Washington, D.C.: Association of Science-Technology Centers, 1993.

Miles, R. M. Alt, D. Gosling, D. Lewis, and A. Tout.  The Design of Educational Exhibits, 2nd ed. London: Unwin Heyman, 1988.

National Park Service, Division of Conservation.  Exhibit Conservation Guidelines, a CD-ROM To order Phone: 304-535-2971   Fax: 304-535-6749

Reeve, James K.  The Art of Showing Art, 2nd ed.  Tulsa: Council Oak Publishing Inc., 2002.

Serrell, Beverly.  Exhibit Labels: An Interpretative Approach.  Walnut Creek, Cal.: AltaMira Press, 1996.

 _______. Judging Exhibitions: A Framework for Assessing Excellence. Walnut Creek: Left Coast Press, 2006.

 _______. Paying Attention: Visitors and Museum Exhibitions. Washington, D.C.: American Association of Museums, 1998.

Siller, Mary Ann, and Elga Joffee.  Reaching Out. New York: American Foundation for the Blind Press, 1999.  (To order a video and manual, call 800.232.3044.)

Taylor, Samuel, ed.  Try It!: Improving Exhibits through Formative Evaluation. Washington, D.C.:  Association of Science‑Technology Centers, 1991.

Witteborg, Lothar P. Good Show! A Practical Guide for Temporary Exhibitions, 2nd ed. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, 1991.


Education and Interpretation

ASTC Education

Berry, Nancy, and Susan Mayer, eds. Museum Education: History, Theory, and Practice,Reston, Va.: The National Art Education Association Editors,1989.

Bridal, Tessa, and Susan McCormick.  Science on Stage. Washington, D.C.: Association of Science Technology Centers, 1991.

Chadwick, Alan, and Annette Stannertt, eds.Museums and the Education of Adults. Leicester, U.K.: National Institute for Adult Continuing Education, 1995.

Cunningham, Mary Kay.  The Interpreters Training Manual for Museums. Washington, D.C.: American Association of Museums, 2004.

Durbin, Gail, et al. A Teacher's Guide to Learning from Objects. London: Department of National Heritage, 1991.

Falk, John H., and Lynn D. Dierking. Free-Choice Learning.  Walnut Creek, Cal.: AltaMira Press, 2002.

Falk, John H., and Lynn D. Dierking, eds.  Public Institutions for Personal Learning. Washington, D.C.: American Association of Museums, 1995.

Grinder, Alison L., and E. Sue McCoy. The Good Guide: A Sourcebook for Interpreters, Docents and Tour Guides.  Scottsdale, Ariz.: Ironwood Publishing, 1985.

Group for Education in Museums (GEM)

Ham, Sam H. Environmental Interpretation: A Practical Guide for People with Big Ideas and Small Budgets.  Golden, Colo.: Fulcrum, 1992.

Hein, George E. Learning in the Museum. London: Routledge, 1998.

Hirsch, Joanne S., and Lois H. Silverman.  Transforming Practice: Selections from the Journal of Museum Education 1992-1999.  Washington, D.C.: Museum Education Roundtable, 2000.

Hooper-Greenhill, Eilean, ed. Working in Museum and Gallery Education. Leicester, U.K.: Leicester University Press, 1992.

Hooper-Greenhill, Eilean, ed. The Educational Role of the Museum, London: Routledge, 1999.

Hughes, Catherine.  Museum Theatre: Communicating with Visitors through Drama.  Portsmouth, N.H.: Heinemann, 1998.

Journal of Museum Education

Legacy: Journal of Interpretation Research

Leinhardt, Gaea, Kevin Crowley, and Karen Knutson.  Learning Conversations in Museums. Washington, D.C.: American Association of Museums, 2002.

Levy, Barbara A., Sandra M. Lloyd, and Susan P. Schreiber. Great Tours!  Thematic Tours and Guide Training for Historic Sites. Walnut Creek, Cal.: AltaMira Press, 2001.

Tilden, Freeman. Interpreting Our Heritage, 3rd ed.  Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1997.


Up-to-date research on academic and practical matters

American Archivist Journal

ASTC Dimensions

Collections: A Journal for Museum and Archives Professionals

Common Ground: Preserving Our Nation’s Heritage

Conservation: The Getty Conservation Newsletter

Cultural Resources Management:  The Journal of Heritage Stewardship

Curator:  The Museum Journal

Folklife Center News 

History News


ICOM Study Series

International Journal of Arts Management

Journal of Museum Education

Journal of Museum Management and Curatorship


Museum Anthropology

Museum News


Tutorials and reference sources to help you define and plan your project

Developing Visitor-Centered Programs: An AABGA Professional Development Resource

The Foundation Center Learning Lab

Health and Human Services Guidelines for Effective Web Design and Organization of Material

Shaping Outcomes


Museum Studies Bibliographies / Smithsonian Institution Research Information Service (SIRIS)

Museum Studies Reference Library

National Leadership Grant Project Planning: A Tutorial

Virtual Library Museums Pages

World Wide Web Virtual Library / Indigenous Studies

Writing for Publication


Federal Funding Sources

Catalogue of Federal Domestic Assistance

Institute of Museum and Library Services

National Endowment for the Arts

National Endowment for the Humanities

National Historical Publications and Records Commission

National Science Foundation Informal Science Program


ADA/Disability Resourses

Accessible Practices, ASTC

Center on Information Technology Accommodation

Department of Transportation:  Accessibility

Graphic Artists Guild Disability Symbols 

Smithsonian Accessible Exhibit Design

Texas Association of Museums ADA / Disability resources


Curriculum Materials
Information on how to conceptualize, plan, conduct, and evaluate training activities

About Museum Studies Training and Staff Development
Views from practitioners on issues of curricula, teaching, and frameworks and strategies for instructional programs

Boylan, P.J. “Museum Training in an International Perspective,” inProfessionalising the Muses:  The Museum Profession in Motion, ed. P. Van Mensch.  Amsterdam: AHA Books, 1989.

Canadian Museums Human Resource Planning Committee.  People, Survival, Change and Success: A Human Resource Action Strategy for the Canadian Museum Community.  Ottawa: Canadian Museums Association, 1995.

______. The Workforce of the Future: Competencies for the Canadian Museum Community.  Ottawa: Canadian Museums Association, 1997.  

Cato, Paisley S., et al.  Developing Staff Resources for Managing Collections. Martinsville: Virginia  Museum of Natural History Press, 1996.

Committee on Museum Professional Training

CREATE Australia—Culture Research Education and Training Enterprise

Davis, Joy.  Good Intentions / Complex Realities:  Perspectives on Continuing Professional eEducation in Canada’s Museum Sector, 2001.
To access, contact author at

Designing Professional Training Opportunities

ICOM Curricula Guidelines for Museum Professional Development

Jones, Christina, ed.    “Why Staff Development Matters”, ASTC Dimensions  Sept./Oct. 2003.

Reynolds, Terry R. Training for Entry Level Museum Professionals (a report presented to the Committee on Museum Professional Training / American Association of Museums Annual Meeting, Baltimore, Md., April 2000).

Selected Resources for Developing Museum Studies Curricula  

Scottish Museums Council.  Managing Training and Development in Museums: A Guide. Norwich, U.K.: The Stationery Office, 1997.

Sutterfield, Carolyn, ed.  “Investing in People,” ASTC Dimensions, March/April 2000.

Thorburn, Dan.  “Mentoring Strategies for Museums and Museum Workers: Potential Benefits and Risks,” in Muse. March 1999, vol. 16, no. 4. pp. 34 – 37.

White, Tarra. Acquiring Excellence and Equity:  Attracting Students of Color to Graduate Museum Programs.

Warren, Susanne R., guest ed. “Professional Education,” Spectra, a publication of the Museum Computer Network, Summer/Fall 1999, vol. 26, no. 2.


About Adult Learning and Teaching
A selection of resources on instructional methods and the ways adults learn

Brockett, Ralph G.  Ethical Issues in Adult Education.  New York: Teachers College, Columbia, 1988.

Brookfield, Stephen.  Developing Critical Thinkers, Challenging Adults to Explore Alternative Ways of Thinking and Acting. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1991.

Cranton, Patricia.  Understanding and Promoting Transformative Learning:  A Guide for Educators of Adults.  San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1994.

Diamond, Robert M. Designing and Assessing Courses and Curricula:  A Practical Guide.  San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1998.

Farquharson, Andy. Teaching in Practice, How Professionals Can Work Effectively with Clients, Patients, and Colleagues.  San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1995.

Friedman, Alan J.  “Creating an Academic Home for Informal Science Education,” in Public Institutions for Personal Learning: Establishing a Research Agenda.

Houle, C.O. Continuing Learning in the Professions.  San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1980.

Hunt, E. Stephen, ed. Professional Workers as Learners. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Education Office of Educational Research and Improvement, 1992.

Merriam, Sharan B., and Rosemary S. Caffarella.  Learning in Adulthood:  A Comprehensive Guide.  San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1999.

Nowlen,  Philip. A New Approach to Continuing Education for Business and the Professions:  The Performance Model.  New York:  NUCEA, American Council on Education and Macmillan, 1987.

Queeney, Donna S. Assessing Needs in Continuing Education. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1995.

Queeney, Donna S. and R. Michael Casto, eds. “Interprofessional Collaboration among Professionals of Different Disciplines,” in An Agenda for Action: Continuing Professional Education Focus Group Reports. University Park, Pa.: The Pennsylvania State University, 1990, pp.57–66.

Schon, D.A., ed. The Reflective Turn: Case Studies in and on Educational Practice.  New York: Teachers College Press, 1991.

Sork, T.J. “A Few Potholes on the Road to Salvation: Codes of Ethics in Adult Education,” in Proceedings of the Adult Education Research Conference, no.37.  Tampa: University of South Florida, 1996.

Welton, Michael R., ed. In Defense of the Lifeworld : Critical Perspectives on Adult Learning.  Albany: State University of New York Press, 1995.

Wright, W. Alan. Teaching Improvement Practices Successful Strategies for Higher Education.  Bolton, Mass.: Anker Publishing Company, Inc., 1995.


Online Resources

Adult Education Quarterly: A Journal of Research and Theory

American Center for the Study of Distance Education 

American Society for Training and Development

Free Management Library 

University Continuing Education Association  


Archived Research and Project Reports

Center for Museum Studies Bulletin

Fellowship in Museum Practice Research Reports

Museums for the New Millennium, a 1996 international symposium for the museum community on the 150th anniversary of the Smithsonian Institution

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