What is it about?

Museums have a unique opportunity to talk to the public about important science topics. But when we try to study how museums show and share science, it gets tricky because there are lots of different factors that affect how they do it. To deal with this challenge, we use a tool called the "framework of didactic co-determination". We apply this tool to museums to see how different things influence the way a museum exhibition is created. In the paper, we talk about how this tool can help us understand more about how museums work, and how it could be helpful in other situations, not just in this one example we've talked about.

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Why is it important?

Understanding how museums work and what shapes their work is important, because museums can help create a more equitable society, they can help us become democratically empowered citizens, and they can help mitigate some of the effects of the sustainability crises we are facing. But a lot of museum practice is not well understood - the tool we present here gives us a way to make systematic studies into museums, and to make comparisons across museums and other institutions.


This tool helped me understand many of the excellent reasons science museums have for making the decisions they do. As an outsider, I would sometimes question why an exhibition turned out the way it did, or why a museum made a certain strategic decision about its communication. But this tool helped me ask the right questions, and understand the implicit and explicit reasons for museum practice.

Dr. Marianne Achiam
University of Copenhagen

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: A framework for understanding the conditions of science representation and dissemination in museums, Museum Management and Curatorship, December 2013, Taylor & Francis,
DOI: 10.1080/09647775.2013.869855.
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