Museums and Social Change explores the ways museums can work in collaboration with marginalised groups to work for social change and, in so doing, rethink the museum.

Drawing on the first-hand experiences of museum practitioners and their partners around the world, the volume demonstrates the impact of a shared commitment to collaborative, reflective practice. Including analytical discussion from practitioners in their collegial work with women, the homeless, survivors of institutionalised child abuse and people with disabilities, the book draws attention to the significant contributions of small, specialist museums in bringing about social change. It is here, the book argues, that the new museum emerges: when museum practitioners see themselves as partners, working with others to lead social change, this is where museums can play a distinct and important role.

Emerging in response to ongoing calls for museums to be more inclusive and participate in meaningful engagement, Museums and Social Change will be essential reading for academics and students working in museum and gallery studies, librarianship, archives, heritage studies and arts management. It will also be of great interest to those working in history and cultural studies, as well as museum practitioners and social activists around the world.

chapter |32 pages


Neither helpful nor unhelpful – a clear way forward for the useful museum

part I|48 pages

Museums and co-creation

chapter 1|13 pages

Behind barbed wire

Co-producing the Danish Welfare Museum

chapter 2|12 pages

Rewriting the script

Power and change through a Museum of Homelessness

chapter 3|12 pages

March of Women

Equality and usefulness in action at Glasgow Women’s Library

chapter 4|9 pages

In the name of the museum

The cultural actions and values of the Togo Rural Village Art Museum, Taiwan

part II|80 pages

Revealing hidden narratives

chapter 5|13 pages

Revealing hidden stories at the Danish Welfare Museum

A collaborative history

chapter 6|16 pages

Doors, stairways and pitfalls

Care Leavers’ memory work at the Danish Welfare Museum

chapter 7|10 pages

‘We cannot change the past, but we can change how we look at the past’

The use of creative writing in facing up to personal histories at the Danish Welfare Museum

chapter 8|12 pages

Invite, acknowledge and collect with respect

Sensitive narratives at the Vest-Agder Museum, Norway

chapter 9|15 pages

‘Nothing about us without us’ 1

The journey to cultural democracy at Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales

chapter 10|12 pages

Slow, uncomfortable and badly paid

DisPLACE and the benefits of disability history

part III|25 pages

Taking back

chapter 11|10 pages

The act of emancipating oneself

The museum and the release of adult Care Leavers’ case records