Storytelling in Museums Book


Coming in July 2022 from AAM Press/Rowman & Littlefield. Click here to learn more and to order your copy! For a 30% discount valid through September 30, 2022, please order using this code: RLFANDF30.

With chapters written by a diverse set of practitioners from across the museum field and around the world, Storytelling in Museums explores the efficacy and ethics of storytelling in museums.

The book shows how museums use personal, local, and specific stories to make visitors feel welcome while inspiring them to engage with new ideas and unfamiliar situations. At the same time, the book explores the responsibilities of museum practitioners toward the storytellers included in their narratives and how those responsibilities shift over time and manifest in different contexts.

The book’s eighteen chapters represent a conversation among a diverse set of professionals for whom storytelling connotes their daily museum practice. As educators, collectors, curators, designers, marketers, researchers, planners, and collaborators, the authors of this book consider the “real work” of storytelling from every angle. From the inclusion of personal stories in educational programs to the meta-narratives on display in exhibitions, this book balances practical examples with ethical considerations, placing the praxis of storytelling within the larger context of the 21st century museum. The book moves beyond advocacy for storytelling as an essential part of the museum’s toolkit to explore the many ways in which museums use personal stories, and multiple storytelling techniques, to support the larger public narratives embedded in their missions.

The contributors demonstrate how museums that emphasize storytelling from multiple angles can serve as a kind of counterpoint to our tendency to fixate on singular images of things we know little about. They encourage museums to both acknowledge that they cannot control the narrative and to embrace their power to contribute to it through the multivalent, multivocal stories they choose to share.