Museums, Children and Social Action examines the role that museums play in reaching, teaching and inspiring children as global citizens of the world and, looking to the future, argues that the sustainability of museums will come from strengthening relationships with young visitors.  

Presenting a diverse range of programs, exhibitions and outreach from museums across five continents, Shaffer highlights how museums are already serving children and making a difference in their lives. Arguing that museums have a unique responsibility to connect this audience with relevant social issues and challenges, such as social injustice, racism, climate change and poverty, Shaffer simultaneously acknowledges that a large number of children are still on the margins of the institution and its mission. Recognizing the ways in which museums are currently serving children, the book also considers what museums could and should be doing as they plan for the future, raising critical questions about core values, community partners and social agendas.

Museums, Children and Social Action is essential reading for academics and students engaged in the study of museums, social justice and childhood.  It encourages museums to make it their mission to educate and serve this audience and their families for the good of children, as well as museums, while also considering what their institutions can do to make a lasting impact on children and their families.

chapter |6 pages


part Section I|43 pages

Museums as Social Institutions

chapter |3 pages

Introduction to Section I

chapter 1|17 pages

Museums across History

The Story of Children in the Context of Museums

chapter 2|21 pages

A Legacy of Serving Communities

A Mission of Education and Service

part Section II|66 pages

Museums as Social Institutions in the Twenty-First Century

chapter |3 pages

Introduction to Section II

chapter 3|21 pages

Museums in Times of Change

Today and in the Future

chapter 4|20 pages

The Museum as a Platform for Advancing Social Issues

Addressing Race, Identity, Social Justice and Peace in the World

chapter 5|20 pages

Advancing Social Responsibility for the Environment

Understanding the Challenge of Climate Change and Social Action

part Section III|53 pages

A Closer Look at Children and Museums in Society

chapter |3 pages

Introduction to Section III

chapter 7|18 pages

A Blend of Two Perspectives

Understanding the Museum from the Inside-Out, a Museum Perspective and from the Outside-In, a Community Perspective

chapter 8|16 pages

Rethinking the Future of Children and Museums through a Social Lens

A Call to Action