Online Workshop: Museum Ethics

  • 14 Sep 2021
  • 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
  • Online
  • 30


  • MAM members can log in (blue button in the top-left corner) to register at this discounted price. If you're not already a member of MAM, join now to get this discount!

Registration is closed

Museum Ethics

An Exploration of New Approaches

In our rapidly changing world museums and archives face increasing demands to engage with complex ethical issues that go beyond a simple "right and wrong." Museum ethics is among the most pivotal concerns of museum and archives professionals in the twenty-first century and is central to all areas of their work. However, the predominant twentieth-century approach to ethics as professional practice, which relies on ethics codes alone, revised perhaps once a decade and authored by like-minded individuals, behind closed doors, has proven to be a constraining factor, rather than an enabling process. For museums and archives to reach their transformative potential as agents of change, they must embed in their very fabric a changing concept of museum ethics.

Janet’s presentation argues for a revitalization of museum ethics that is founded on the confluence of ethics codes, values and case studies. It also asserts that all practitioners have ethics expertise—built from the many large and small ethical decisions that they make every day that impact their family, friends and communities—from which they can draw.

Through problem-based learning exercises, Janet’s workshop offers opportunities to explore how codes, values and case studies together empower individuals and colleagues to engage in ethics discourse leading to informed and responsive ethical decision-making.

  • What codes do we rely on and how? How are and aren’t they helpful? 
  • How might values provide another complementary level of guidance? What values might we embrace and why? How are values distinct from principles? 
  • What role should case studies play in ethics discourse and action? How might interdisciplinary case studies--beyond the archives and museum sector--be relevant?

This event will be recorded and the recording will be shared with all registrants, regardless of whether or not they attended.

Your Presenter

Janet Marstine is Honorary Associate Professor of Museum Studies (retired), University of Leicester, UK. She has published five books on diverse aspects of museum ethics--from codes of practice to museum transparency to negotiating the pressures of self-censorship to artists’ interventions as drivers for ethical change. She has a particular interest in recognizing and supporting the agency of practitioners to make informed ethical decisions. Dr. Marstine sat on the Ethics Committee of the UK’s Museums Association from 2014-2019, helping to move their approach from one of policing to empowering. Previously, she was Founding Director of the Institute of Museum Ethics at Seton Hall University in South Orange, New Jersey. She has received grants from the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the British Academy and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Janet’s first teaching position was at Bowdoin College where she made lifelong friends and fell in love with the Maine coast. She is now an independent scholar and consultant living in Yarmouth.

Attending an Online Workshop

To participate in this online workshop you will need access to a computer or mobile device with an internet connection.  We will be using Zoom to host this workshop as an online videoconference.  Once you register, you will immediately be sent instructions for logging in via automatically sent email.

If you do not have access to a computer or mobile device with an internet connection, you will still be able to call in on a telephone, but you will unfortunately not be able to see any of the participants or visuals. 

Online registration will be open through September 14. Attendance is limited to 40 people; register soon to save your spot!

The fee for members is $20.  Non-members pay $30.

Members of MAM enjoy discounted registration (MAM members please log in first).  If you're not a MAM member, join today!

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Maine Archives and Museums

P.O. Box 784, Portland, Maine 04104


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