Today’s museums are eager to become a more relevant force in the struggle for social justice through the use of their programming and decision-making. Unfortunately, implementing these socially oriented programs for the first time can often be complex and confusing, even treacherous. The lack of a comprehensive manual to museum social work, one that details best practices and recommends specific approaches from experienced professionals, is a disservice to the field and to these institutions. This guide aspires to fill that role. It will direct museum professionals and other stakeholders to the most important qualities of successful museum social work and deliver ten achievable steps for making it work at their own institutions. This guide will also describe the two categories of museum social work – conversational and provisional – explain their importance, and suggest the best methods for implementing both.
This paper was submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Masters of Museum Studies.
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