Museum Theory

Editors: Andrea Witcomb and Kylie Message
Publisher: Wiley

Museum Theory Cover

The International Handbooks of Museum Studies is a collection of essays from an international team of experts that provides a state-of-the-art survey of the museum studies field. 

Museum Theory showcases innovative theoretical formations that have defined museum studies and which point the way towards its future.

The book is framed around three themes:

  • Thinking about museums, which focuses on understanding the nature of museums as institutions and their role in the public sphere.
  • Disciplines and politics, which presents work by scholars based in specific disciplines and with particular theoretical orientations who consider contemporary museums from the point of view of those interests. 
  • Theory from practice/practising theory: in which work beginning with – and often in – the museums, reaches out to, and across, a range of disciplines in an attempt to theorise, better understand and challenge what is happening within museums and disciplinary frameworks.

About the editors

Professor Andrea Witcomb graduated with a PhD in Media and Communication Studies from Central Queensland University in 1997 (her dissertation looked at the Australian National Maritime Museum and situated it within emerging practices in the new museology). 

She has a Graduate Diploma in Museum Studies and an Honours Degree in History from the University of Sydney. She worked as a social history curator in the lead up to the opening of the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney and then at the National Museum of Australia.

Kylie Message was appointed Interim Director of the Research School of Humanities and the Arts in August 2015. She has been Head of the ANU School of Archaeology and Anthropology since 2013, and was elected to the Australian Research Council College of Experts in 2014. 

Kylie was CASS Associate Dean (Research Training) 2010–2012, and Museums and Collections program convenor (2006–2010).