English Translation available: Museum Ethics in Practice

The attached PDF-file Museum Ethics in Practice is about moral challenges museum employees can face when working with sensitive issues and personal narratives. It is the translation of the Norwegian book Museumsetikk i praksis, published by Museumforlaget in 2016. The English translation can now be downloaded for free, with kind allowance of the publisher, Museumsforlaget.

The Norwegian version was based upon Kathrin Pabsts doctoral dissertation which was defended in December 2014. Its topic is what the author consider a major task in contemporary museums – to be a dynamic actor that works to contribute to positive societal development towards a more just society in which a maximum number of different voices are heard. The role as dynamic actor is under evolvement, aiming at continuous improvement. A lot has happened since the defend of the PhD, and one can see clearly an increased focus on working with sensitive issues, personal narratives, emotions and ethical dilemmas at museums and conferences around the world. This translation includes no update, though, but is an expression of the state of research in 2014/2016.

With the starting point in the individual museum professional’s working day and the frames applicable for the museum employees in each institution and as part of a professional community, the author intends to identify four central moral challenges and questions which the museum professionals in cultural-historical museums encounter in their work on sensitive, present-day related themes, involving external cooperation. These four are: 1) balancing the external participants’ needs versus the needs of a large public, 2) subjective truth versus historical, objective truth, 3) own skills versus external – i.e. hired consultants – competence, and 4) personal judgement versus the establishment of guidelines. With recourse to concrete examples the author intends to show how the challenges are usually handled – and how they should be handled, in the light of ethical theory and experiences which other museum professionals have made. She takes her point of departure in a project of cooperation, which aims at producing an exhibition, an ordinary museal channel of dissemination, and which is to be disseminated to a broad public.

The English version has 224 pages, translated by Einar Tore Larssen and Erik Aalvik Evensen.

It can be downloaded here: MUSEUM ETHICS IN PRACTICE – Kathrin Pabst

For further questions please kontakt Kathrin Pabst.


Original Title: Museumsetikk i praksis
© MUSEUMSFORLAGET Trondheim, Norway 2016
ISBN 9788283050387

This material is protected by copyright law. Without explicit authorisation, reproduction is
only allowed in so far as it is permitted by law or by agreement with a collecting society.
Please contact the author if you wish to summarize parts of the book in a media-independent form.