As part of writing Museums 101 bought and read many books about museums. There are a few books that every person interested in museums should own.
Must own Books about Museums:
- Starting Right: A Basic Guide to Museum Planning by Gerald W. George & Carol Maryan-George, 3rd Edition, 2012 – Very easy to read and a great overview of museums, although a little dated.
- Museum Basics by Timothy Ambrose & Crispin Paine, 3rd Edition, 2012 – More in-depth than Starting Right and more focused on exhibitions than strategy and museum culture.
- Identity and the Museum Visitor Experience by John H. Falk, 2009 – John Falk is “the” researcher of the museum visitor experience and Identity and the Museum Visitor Experience is required reading to understand the creation of museum-centric experiences.
- Civilizing the Museum: The Collected Writings of Elaine Heumann Gurian Kindle Edition, 2006 – I love this book ! Elaine Heumann Gurian has a wonderful ability to elevate the museum experience and in-turn elevate those that share a passion for museums, a must read. The book is out of print, but available for kindle download.
At my desk I keep the above books nearby. Often the books are there as much for emotional support as for content. It is nice to be reminded by others why we do this, the four books above often serve as support.
There are two more books that I keep nearby, each very different than the other.
- Janson’s History of Art: The Western Tradition Reissued Edition by H. W. Janson (8th Edition), 2016 – Dr. Janson was “the” professor of art history and his History of Art is still considered the standard of art history text books. The book has been in print since 1962 now in it’s 8th Edition. An amazing book an overview of all of art history.
- McMaster-Carr Catalog – As Janson’s History of Art is “the” book of art history, Mcmaster-Carr is “the” industrial supplier. I have always been able to find what I was looking for in the catalog. Today, wanted to know “what is a M4 bolt ?”. Looked it up an M4 bolt is a metric size bolt. Maybe keep the Janson’s History of Art on the book shelf behind your desk and the McMaster-Carr in your desk.
Would love to know your must own “Books about Museums”, please leave your list in the comments section below.