On my bookshelf | The Participatory Museum, by Nina Simon - Museums Association

On my bookshelf | The Participatory Museum, by Nina Simon

A book that changes the way you look at museums
Bookshelf Museology
Annelies Van de Ven

When this book came out 10 years ago, I had just started my BA in archaeology. Museums were on my radar as spaces that I enjoyed and found inspiration, but not quite as places I wanted to work in. I saw them as too static, too object driven. Nina Simon’s work changed all this for me, presenting museums as spaces for relationship-building and dialogue, not just storage and display.

In writing her book, Simon draws from her deep knowledge of the theory behind museum engagement, her extensive experience in the sector and years of blog writing. She gathers useful examples of collaborations from across institutions, allowing the reader to draw inspiration from museum professionals who have developed creative solutions to common problems.

The book manages to address complex issues in a wonderfully accessible way and her examples are equally useful to museum studies students as to directors trying to ensure the economic sustainability of their projects.

Simon’s work is still relevant today as museums continue to struggle with developing participative practices, whether due to a shortage of resources or discomfort around sharing authority. In short, this is a book that you will reach for time and time again. Whether you need a source of inspiration for projects, a reference work for practical questions or just a pick-me-up, this book has you covered.

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