Conference Alert: Defining Museum Ethics

From H-Museum (N.B. Our very own Richard Sandell will be giving the keynote speech at this conference):

Defining Museum Ethics
Seton Hall University, South Orange, NJ
November 15, 2008

The Institute of Museum Ethics is holding its inaugural conference, Defining Museum Ethics, on Saturday, November 15, 2008 at Seton Hall University. The conference brings together museum professionals, museum theorists, and ethicists to discuss what we mean by accountability, transparency and social responsibility.


8:45-9:30: Welcome/Continental Breakfast

9:30-10:15: Keynote - Museums and Moralities: Ethics, Activism, Responsibility Richard Sandell, Director and Head, Department of Museum Studies, University of Leicester, UK; author of Museums, Prejudice and the Reframing of Difference (Routledge, 2006) and editor of Museums, Society, Inequality (Routledge, 2002).

10:15-10:30: Questions/Discussion

10:30-10:45: Break

10:45-12:30: Identifying Problems/Negotiating Solutions

"Why is this here?": How gallery texts conceal or reveal the ethics of collecting and displaying art Pam McClusky, Curator of African and Oceanic Art, Seattle Art Museum

Responsible Utilization: Balancing a Conservator's Obligations with Society's Expectations Malcolm Collum, Chief Conservator, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C.

Post-NAGPRA: Ethics for New Ideas/New Relationships/Future Leaders Patricia Capone, Curator and Repatriation Coordinator, Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University

Ethical, Entrepreneurial, or Inappropriate? Business Practices in Museums James B. Gardner, Associate Director for Curatorial Affairs, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution

Moderator: Marie Malaro, Professor Emerita, George Washington University, and author of Museum Governance: Mission, Ethics, Policy, (Smithsonian,

12:30-12:45 Questions/Discussion

12:45-1:45: Lunch

1:45-3:30: Museums as Catalysts of Social Change

Politics in the Museum: Rights and Responsibilities Beverly Robertson, Director, National Civil Rights Museum, Memphis

Making a Difference: The Development and Progress of a Collaborative Program for Teen parents and Their Children in Museums Claudia Ocello, Associate Director, Education and Public Programs, Save Ellis Island and Adjunct Instructor, M.A. Program in Museum Professions, Seton Hall University

Rebuilding the Neighborhood with Sustainability at the Core Jane Werner, Director, Children's Museum of Pittsburgh

Museums as "Dangerous" Sites: Fostering Civic Engagement Through Radically Democratic Museum Practices Lisa Yun Lee, Director, Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, Chicago

Moderator: Gary Edson, Director, Museum Studies Program, Texas Tech University, and author of Museum Ethics (Routledge, 1997)

3:30-3:45: Questions/Discussion

3:45-4:00: Break

4:00-4:45: A Discussion on Defining Museum Ethics

Peter Welsh, Director, Central Division, Arizona Historical Society, Tempe, Arizona

Judith Stark, Professor and Ethicist, Department of Philosophy, Seton Hall University

Robert Macdonald, President Emeritus of the Museum of the City of New York and author of the most recent AAM code of ethics

Emlyn Koster, President and CEO, Liberty Science Center

Janet Marstine, Director, Institute of Museum Ethics, Seton Hall University

4:45-5:30: Reception


The conference is supported by a 21st Century Museum Professionals Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation's 122,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute's mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas.

The Institute of Museum Ethics was founded in 2007 at Seton Hall University to promote integrity and to encourage social responsibility among museums.
Janet Marstine, Assistant Professor, Department of Art, Music, and Design, is the IME Director and founder.

The conference begins at 8:45 at Jubilee Hall and ends with a reception from 4:45-5:30 at the Walsh Gallery. Registration is $50 (free for full-time
students) and includes lunch. To register, and for information on hotels and all speakers, please go to the conference page of our web portal,


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