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Critical Museology

Topic Overview

This guide provides an introduction to the museum studies "subfield" of critical museology. Among the sources about critical museology, this guide specifically provides a curated selection of books, journals, museum organizations with critical lenses, and a few Twitter and Instagram accounts for your use. Use the sidebar navigation to get started. 

What is Critical Museology?

Professor of Anthropology with a specialty in critical museology, Anthony Shelton, says of critical museology: "As a field of study it interrogates the imaginaries, narratives, discourses, agencies, visual and optical regimes, and their articulations and integrations within diverse organizational structures that taken together constitute a field of cultural and artistic production, articulated through public and private museums...These fields are clearly related to competing subfields of power relations and economic regimes that are made partially visible through ideas and counter ideas of patrimony and social identity" (Shelton 2013: 8).

As you explore more of the resources in this guide, you might find that your definition of critical museology differs. In a field built on being critical of the foundations we are given, troubling and reassessing definitions of critical museology are certainly encouraged!