Museum Worlds

Advances in Research

Alison K. Brown, University of Aberdeen
Conal McCarthy, 
Victoria University of Wellington

Subjects: Anthropology, Museum Studies


Latest Issue Table of Contents

Volume 11 (2023): Issue 1 (Jul 2023)

Volume 12 / 2024, 1 issue per volume (summer)

Aims & Scope

Museum Worlds: Advances in Research is a multidisciplinary, refereed, annual journal that publishes work that significantly advances knowledge of global trends, case studies, and theory relevant to museum practice and scholarship around the world.

Responding to the need for a rigorous, in-depth review of current work in its field, Museum Worlds: Advances in Research contributes to the ongoing formation of Museum Studies as an academic and practical area of research that is rapidly expanding and alive with potential, opportunity, and challenge that parallels the rapid growth of museums in just about every part of the world.

Museum Worlds aims to trace and comment on major regional, theoretical, methodological, and topical themes and debates, and to encourage comparison of museum theories, practices, and developments in different global settings. Each issue includes a conversation piece on a current topic, as well as peer-reviewed scholarly articles and review articles, book and exhibition reviews, and news on developments in museum studies and related curricula in different parts of the world. Drawing on the expertise and networks of a global Editorial Board of senior scholars and museum practitioners, the journal both challenges and develops the core concepts that link different disciplinary perspectives on museums by bringing new voices into ongoing debates and discussions. Articles are of exceptional quality and general interest from around the world.


Museum Worlds: Advances in Research is indexed/abstracted in:

  • CABI Abstracts (CABI)
  • Emerging Sources Citation Index (Web of Science)
  • European Reference Index for the Humanities and the Social Sciences (ERIH PLUS)
  • Norwegian Register for Scientific Journals, Series and Publishers
  • Scopus (Elsevier)

Visit the Museum Worlds Companion Site: In an era of increased globalization and digitization, the site aims to complement the journal by bringing current museum themes, practices, and developments to the forefront of global discussions in the field of Museum Studies.

Alison K. Brown, University of Aberdeen, UK
Conal McCarthy, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand

Reviews Editors
Sowparnika Balaswaminathan, Concordia University, USA
Joanna Cobley, Ara Institute of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand
Jennifer Coombes, Australian National University, Australia
Kristin D. Hussey, Newcastle University, UK
Alison Kelly, Zayed National Museum, UAE
Kirsty Kernohan, Museum of Archeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge, UK
Da (Linda) Kong, Fudan University, Shanghai, China
Jesmael Mataga, Sol Plaatje University, South Africa

Senior Advisory Editors
Bruno Brulon Soares, Universidade Federal do Estado do Rio de Janeiro
Howard Morphy, Australian National University, Australia
Ciraj Rassool, University of the Western Cape, South Africa

Editorial Board
Joshua A. Bell, Smithsonian Institution, USA
Sandra Dudley, University of Leicester, UK
Mary Bouquet, University College Utrecht, Netherlands
Alice Semedo, University of Porto, Portugal
Kylie Message, Australian National University, Australia

Editorial Advisory Board
Safua Akeli Amaama, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, New Zealand
Dimitry Arzyutov, Ohio State University, USA
Christopher Berk, Auburn University, USA
Yunci Cai, University of Leicester, UK
Eric Dorfman, North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, USA
Chris Dorsett, Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford, UK
Maria Economou, University of Glasgow‎, UK
Elizabeth Edwards, De Montfort University‎, UK
Haidy Geismar, University College London, UK
Viviane Gosselin, Museum of Vancouver, Canada
Laurence Gourievidis, Blaise Pascal University, France
Sigurjón Baldur Hafsteinsson, University of Iceland, Iceland
Sophia Handaka, Benaki Museum, Greece
Kate Hill, University of Lincoln, UK
Gwyneira Isaac, Smithsonian Institution, USA
Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, New York University, USA
Simon Knell, University of Leicester, UK
Christina Kreps, University of Denver, USA
Henrietta Lidchi, Wheelwright Museum, USA
Francois Mairesse, Sorbonne Nouvelle University, France
Saloni Mathur, University of California Los Angeles, USA
Kylie Message, Australian National University
Jenny Newell, Australian Museum, Australia
Mark O'Neill, University of Glasgow, Scotland and University of Leicester, UK
Laura Peers, Trent University, Canada
Philipp Schorch, Ludwig Maximillan University, Germany
Sara Selwood, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand
Carol Ann Scott, Carol Scott Associates
Anthony Shelton, Museum of Anthropology, University of British Columbia, Canada
Motoi Suzuki, National Museum of Ethnology,  Netherlands
Paul Tapsell, Independent Scholar
Graeme Were, University of Bristol, UK
Chris Whitehead, Newcastle University, UK
Jin Yang, Shaanxi Normal University, China


Manuscript Submission

Please review the submission and style guide carefully before submitting.

Please submit articles, reviews, and other contributions as Microsoft Word or Rich Text Format (rtf) files by e-mail to Conal McCarthy at and Alison Brown at
Books to review? Please consult the Editor at the above address.

Research articles and articles that critically review and position the state of a particular subfield should be approximately 7,000 words (including notes and references), although longer articles may be considered, and responses approximately 1,000 words.

  • Conversations: 4,000 to 6,000 words
  • Review articles (books or exhibitions): 3,000 words
  • Short reviews (books or exhibitions): 800 words
  • News, exhibitions, and conferences: up to 500 words per item
  • Teaching in Museum Studies: 3,000 to 5,000 words in total for section (shorter items welcome)

Have other questions? Please refer to the Berghahn Info for Authors page for general information and guidelines including topics such as article usage and permissions for Berghahn journal article authors.

License Agreement

As part of the Berghahn Open Anthro initiative, articles in Museum Worlds: Advances in Research (ARMW) are published open access under a Creative Commons license.

Authors must visit our License Options page to select and download their preferred license agreement. Completed and signed forms should be sent to

Ethics Statement

Authors published in Museum Worlds: Advances in Research (ARMW) certify that their works are original and their own. The editors certify that all materials, with the possible exception of editorial introductions, book and exhibition reviews, and some types of commentary, have been subjected to double-blind peer review by qualified scholars in the field. While the publishers and the editorial board make every effort to see that no inaccurate or misleading data, opinions, or statements appear in this journal, they wish to make clear that the data and opinions appearing in the articles herein are the sole responsibility of the contributor concerned. It is the responsibility of the author to ensure that research published in this journal has been conducted with integrity and according to relevant codes of ethics, and has, where required, received approval from relevant ethics committees. For a more detailed explanation concerning these qualifications and responsibilities, please see the complete ARMW ethics statement.

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Museum Worlds is a part of the Berghahn Open Anthro subscribe-to-open initiative. Launched in 2020, BOA-S2O has successfully converted a collection of 16 anthropology journals to full Open Access using S2O as its equitable and sustainable model of choice.

The End of the Beginning

Normativity in the Postdigital Museum


This article is an attempt to frame a way of seeing museums after the digital revolution. By introducing the concept of the ‘postdigital’, its aim is to evidence a tipping point in the adoption of new media in the museum—a moment where technology has become normative. The intention is not to suggest that digital media today is (or, indeed, should be) universally and equally adopted and assimilated by all museums, but rather to use the experience of several (national) museums to illustrate the normative presence digital media is having within some organizational strategies and structures. Having traced this perceived normativity of technology in these localized institutional settings, the article then attempts to reflect upon the consequences that the postdigital and the normative management of new media have for our approach to museological research.

Critical Museology

A Manifesto


Synthesizing work carried out by the author over the past twenty-five years, this article proposes a tentative disciplinary definition of critical museology, distinguishing its related methodological interdictions and describing its distinctiveness from what is here defined as operational museology. The article acknowledges the diverse intellectual sources that have informed the subject and calls for a reorientation and separation of critical museology from the operational museologies that form part of its area of study. Critical museology, it is argued, is not only an essential intellectual tool for better understanding museums, related exhibitionary institutions, fields of patrimony and counter patrimonies, and the global and local flows and conditions in which they are embedded, but is also crucial for developing new exhibitionary genres, telling untold stories, rearticulating knowledge systems for public dissemination, reimagining organizational and management structures, and repurposing museums and galleries in line with multicultural and intercultural states and communities.

National Museums, Globalization, and Postnationalism

Imagining a Cosmopolitan Museology


In recent years it has been asked whether it is time to move ‘beyond the national museum’. This article takes issue with this assertion on the grounds that it misunderstands not only museums as cultural phenomenon but also the ways in which globalization, nationalism, and localism are always enmeshed and co-constitutive. The article begins by considering theories of globalization, postnationalism, and cosmopolitanism and their relevance for national museums in the European context. Specific theories of cosmopolitanism are subsequently further explored in relation to two museum examples drawn from the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh and the Museum of European Cultures in Berlin. In different ways both examples demonstrate the potential for museums to engage visitors with ideas of cosmopolitanism, globalization, and postnationalism by revisiting, reframing, and reinterpreting existing national collections and displays. In the process the article makes the case for the merits of a nationally situated approach to cosmopolitanism in European museums. At the same time it acknowledges some of the potential limits to such endeavors. The article concludes by imagining what a ‘cosmopolitan museology’ would offer in terms of practice, politics, and ethics.

"Ceremonies of Renewal"

Visits, Relationships, and Healing in the Museum Space


Access to heritage objects in museum collections can play an important role in healing from colonial trauma for indigenous groups by facilitating strengthened connections to heritage, to ancestors, to kin and community members in the present, and to identity. This article analyzes how touch and other forms of sensory engagement with five historic Blackfoot shirts enabled Blackfoot people to address historical traumas and to engage in ‘ceremonies of renewal’, in which knowledge, relationships, and identity are strengthened and made the basis of well-being in the present. The project, which was a museum loan and exhibition with handling sessions before the shirts were placed on displays, implies the obligation of museums to provide culturally relevant forms of access to heritage objects for indigenous communities.