This fourth edition of Museum Basics has been produced for use in the many museums worldwide that operate with few professional staff and limited resources. The fourth edition has been fully updated to reflect the many changes that have taken place in museums around the world over the last six years.

Drawing from a wide range of practical experience, the authors provide a basic guide to all aspects of museum work, from audience development and learning, through collections management and conservation, to museum management and forward planning. Museum Basics is organised on a modular basis, with over 100 units in eight sections. It can be used both as a reference work to assist day-to-day museum management, and as the key textbook for pre-service and in-service museum training programmes, where it can be supplemented by case studies, project work and group discussion. This edition includes over 100 diagrams to support the text, as well as a glossary, sources of information and support and a select bibliography. Museum Basics is also supported by its own companion website, which provides a wide range of additional resources for readers.

Museum Basics aims to help the museum practitioner keep up to date with new thinking about the function of museums and their relationships with the communities they serve. The training materials provided within the book are also suitable for pre-service and in-service students who wish to gain a full understanding of work in a museum.

section 1|25 pages


unit 21|4 pages

About this book

unit 2|2 pages

About museums

unit 3|4 pages

Types of museums

unit 4|6 pages

Making the case for museums

unit 5|2 pages

Museums and sustainability

unit 6|2 pages

Museums and social responsibility

unit 7|1 pages

Museums and theory

unit 8|3 pages

Museums and ethics

section 2|104 pages

The Museum and its Users

unit 9|2 pages

Museums and their location

unit 10|3 pages

Museums are for people

unit 11|4 pages

Access and accessibility

unit 12|10 pages

Understanding your market

unit 13|8 pages

Marketing your museum

unit 14|3 pages

Developing new audiences

unit 15|4 pages

Special audiences: museums and people with disabilities and special needs

unit 16|4 pages

The museum visit

unit 17|3 pages

Learning in museums

unit 18|5 pages

Learning: inside the museum

unit 19|4 pages

Learning: beyond the museum

unit 20|10 pages

Events and activities: creating programmes

unit 21|3 pages

Facilities for visitors

unit 22|4 pages

Providing services: shops and sales points

unit 23|3 pages

Providing services: food and drink

unit 24|3 pages

Providing facilities for hire

unit 25|7 pages

Information services

unit 26|4 pages


unit 27|3 pages

Museum websites

unit 28|3 pages

Social media and museums

unit 29|5 pages

Public relations and the media

unit 30|4 pages

Working with Friends’ and volunteer groups

unit 31|3 pages

Researchers as users

section 3|59 pages

Presenting and Interpreting Collections

unit 32|4 pages

Introducing interpretation

unit 33|2 pages

Presentation techniques: graphics

unit 34|3 pages

Presentation techniques: three-dimensional

unit 35|4 pages

Presentation techniques: audio-visual

unit 36|2 pages

Presentation techniques: interactives

unit 37|2 pages

Presentation techniques: using people

unit 38|3 pages

Museum lighting

unit 39|3 pages

Museum showcases

unit 40|6 pages

Planning new displays and exhibitions

unit 41|2 pages

Research for displays and exhibitions

unit 42|6 pages

Writing text

unit 43|7 pages

Briefing a designer

unit 44|5 pages

Display and exhibition design and production

unit 45|2 pages

New media

unit 46|5 pages

Evaluating displays and exhibitions

section 4|41 pages

Collecting and Collections

unit 47|3 pages

Types of collections

unit 48|3 pages

Policies for collecting

unit 49|3 pages

Policies for disposal

unit 50|5 pages

Donations, purchases and loans

unit 51|3 pages

Collecting and field documentation

unit 52|3 pages

Object research

unit 53|3 pages

Fieldwork and record centres

unit 54|4 pages

Photography, film and video

unit 55|6 pages

Audio-recording and oral history

unit 56|2 pages

The role of collections in research

unit 57|1 pages

Ethical considerations and repatriation

unit 58|3 pages

Museum archives and museum history

section 5|80 pages

Managing and Caring for Collections

unit 59|2 pages

Collections Management Plans

unit 60|4 pages

Collections audits

unit 61|7 pages

Documentation systems

unit 62|6 pages

Working with conservators and conservation plans

unit 63|4 pages

Preventive conservation: principles

unit 64|4 pages

Environmental monitoring and control: light

unit 65|4 pages

Environmental monitoring and control: humidity and temperature

unit 66|4 pages

Environmental monitoring and control: air pollution/pest and insect attack

unit 67|3 pages

Materials testing

unit 68|5 pages

Collections storage: principles

unit 69|7 pages

Collections storage: practice

unit 70|4 pages

Handling, packing and moving collections

unit 71|2 pages

Remedial conservation: principles

unit 72|2 pages

Remedial conservation: practice

unit 73|5 pages

Disaster planning

unit 74|4 pages


unit 75|4 pages

Collections security: physical and electronic

unit 76|3 pages

Collections security: systems and procedures

unit 77|3 pages


section 6|54 pages

The Museum and its Buildings

unit 78|5 pages

Museum buildings: form and function

unit 79|3 pages

Museums and their physical setting

unit 80|5 pages

Museum buildings: planning for access

unit 81|7 pages

Options analysis and feasibility assessment

unit 82|6 pages

Working with architects

unit 83|3 pages

Museum buildings: physical security

unit 84|4 pages

Museum buildings: management and maintenance

unit 85|6 pages

Museum buildings: sustainability

unit 86|4 pages

Moving the museum

unit 87|4 pages

Orientation and signage

unit 88|4 pages

Atmosphere, pace and flow

section 7|107 pages

The Museum and its Management

unit 89|3 pages

Legal status, governance and management structures

unit 90|4 pages


unit 91|3 pages


unit 92|4 pages

Policy development and management planning

unit 93|9 pages

Developing a forward plan

unit 94|5 pages

Measuring performance in museums

unit 95|2 pages

Evaluating the museum’s success

unit 96|5 pages

Project management

unit 97|9 pages

Financial management

unit 98|7 pages

New sources of income

unit 99|6 pages


unit 100|3 pages

Management of change

unit 101|5 pages

Internal communications

unit 102|1 pages

Staff structures

unit 103|4 pages

Volunteers in museums

unit 104|4 pages

Recruiting museum staff

unit 105|3 pages

Conditions of service

unit 106|3 pages

Performance standards for the individual

unit 107|2 pages

Job appraisal and assessing performance

unit 108|3 pages

Staff training and professional development

unit 109|6 pages

Using consultants and outsourcing

unit 110|5 pages

Health and safety

unit 111|3 pages

Administrative procedures

unit 112|5 pages

Information technology and the museum

section 8|9 pages

Supporting Resources

unit 113|4 pages

Sources of information and support

unit 114|4 pages

Resources for museums on the Internet