Museums and Museum Studies

Apollo and Muses

“The term “museum” harks back to the Greek origin of the institution as the abode of the muses, a place of learning and inspiration.”
ArtLex: Visual Arts Dictionary


MFA, Boston

MFA, Boston


“Museum studies, sometimes called museology, is the field that encompasses the ideas and issues involved in the museum profession, from the practical, day-to-day skills needed to operate a museum to theories on the societal role of museums.” Smithsonian



Click on images for sources.

Definitions and Overviews


in Grove Art Online


in Oxford Reference Online. Quick search keyword “museums.” You will retrieve results for all the Oxford encyclopedias and dictionaries that have entries about museums. You can reorder the results by category, alphabetically, and by subject. You also can Quick search a particular museum.

Museums” (art)

in Oxford Reference Online (David Rodgers “museums”The Oxford Companion to Western Art. Ed. Hugh Brigstocke. Oxford University Press, 2001. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press.Boston University.12 November 2009<>)

Museums” (military)

in Oxford Reference Online (Philip Karl Lundeberg “Museums, Military History” The Oxford Companion to American Military History. John Whiteclay Chambers II, ed., Oxford University Press 1999. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press. Boston University.12 November 2009<>

Museums” (photography)

in Quentin Bajac”museums of photography”The Oxford Companion to the Photograph. Ed. Robin Lenman. Oxford University Press 2005. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press.Boston University.26 May 2010<>

Museums” (science in museums)

in Oxford Reference Online (Priska Gisler”museums”Science, Technology, and Society. Ed. Sal Restivo. Oxford University Press 2005. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press.Boston University.12 November 2009<>

Museums” (keyword)

in Oxford Reference Online. Results can be sorted by museum type or reference type (dictionaries, encyclopedias, etc.). Emphasis on British institutions.

Museums: Their History and Their Uses

with a bibliography and list of museums in the United Kingdom. David Murray, 2 vols. Originally published 1904. Mugar AM 5 M9 2000 and online: Volume I, Volume II, and Volume III via the Internet Archive.

Museums FAQ

American Association of Museums. Sample questions:

  1. How many museums are there in the United States?
  2. Is there a directory or list of museums in the United States and around the world?
  3. Where can I get a list of different types of museums, such as maritime museums, children’s museums, or culturally-specific museums?
What is a Museum?

American Association of Museums.

Museum Studies Guides

Companion to Museum Studies.  Sharon MacDonald.  Print: Mugar Memorial Library Reserves AM7 .C59 2006

Museum Studies: An Anthology of Contexts.  Bettina Messias Carbonell.  AM7 .M874 2004

Museum Studies: Information for Museum Professionals and Scholars.

Smithsonian. This page provides links to resources pertaining to museum studies: Smithsonian Institution resources, conservation and preservation, education, museum foundation and grant information, organizations, professional resources, and technology.

Library Catalog subjects

Museum Architecture to Museum Visitors
Museums–Accounting to Vocational Guidance
Museum Exhibits
Museums — Management

To search by subject in Boston University Library Search (BULS), click on Browse Search.



Keyguide to Information Sources in Museum Studies.

Peter Woodhead, 2nd ed. Major sections cover an overview of museum studies and its literature, a bibliographical listing of sources of information, and a list of selected organizations. Mugar AM5 E37 1994.

Museum: A Reference Guide.

Edited by Michael Steven Shapiro.Mugar Library AM5 .M92 1990.


Green Museum: A Primer on Environmental Practice.
Sarah Brophy and Elizaabeth Wylie.  Mugar AM7.B765 2008

Managing Museums and Galleries.
Michael Fopp. 1997.

Manual of museum exhibitiions.
Barry Lord, ed. Mugar AM 151 .M34 2002.

Manual of museum management.
Gail Dexter Lord and Barry Lord. 2nd ed. Mugar Reference X AM121 .L66 2009.

Museum Basics. Third Edition.
Timothy Ambrose and Crispin Paine.  Mugar AM5.A43 2012.

Museum educator’s manual: educators share successful techniques.
Anna Johnson. Mugar AM7 .M866 2009.


ArtLex: Visual Arts Dictionary.

Definitions of over 3,300 terms and longer articles on subjects such as major movements and periods. Artists and titles of works appear within articles but are not listed as separate terms in the index. Appendices include instructions for searching and citing ArtLex, pronunciation, and links to other resources.

Multilingual Glossary for Art Librarians,

by IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions), Section for Art Libraries. “English with Indexes in Dutch, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Swedish, 2nd revised and enlarged edition 1996.” Definitions and translations of bibliographer, archivist, antiquarian, curator, and librarian terminology relating to art.

Pronunciation Dictionary of Artists’ Names. Debra Edelstein, 3rd rev. ed. Art Institute of Chicago. Western European, North and South American, and Australian artists representing all periods. Mugar Reference X N 40 K3 1993


Heritage, Museums and Galleries: An Introductory Reader.

Ed. Gerard Corsane. Previously published essays.

Mugar AM 7 H465 2005

Museum origins : readings in early museum history and philosophy.

Edited by Hugh H. Genoways and Mary Anne Andrei. Mugar AM7 .M8726 2008.

Museums in motion : an introduction to the history and functions of museums.

Edward P. Alexander and Mary Alexander. 2nd ed. Mugar AM5 .A38 2008.

Biographical Sources


  • CAA Directory of Graduate Programs in Art History. Eds. Alexandra Gershuny, Erika Suffern, Eve Sinaiko. “guide to more than 200 schools that offer M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in art history, studio art, museum studies, conservation, and related areas. Complete information is provided about each program, with details on admission requirements, student body, faculty, curriculum, library resources, tuition, fellowships and financial aid, campus housing, and much more. Includes geographic, area, and faculty indices.” Mugar Reference X N385.G73 2011
  • Museum Contributors to the ARTstor Digital Library
  • MassHome Directory of Museums in Massachusetts.
  • Museums of the World: Museums worldwide may announce their exhibits on this site. Access by search engine or by category. All museum types included. Includes the latest museum news worldwide and a different museum featured each day.
  • MuseumsUSA. Search and browse museums, events, conferences, associations, and vendors.
  • Official Museum Directory. American Association of Museums. 2 vols. American museums only. Arranged by state with indexes to personnel, by category (e.g., history), and by collection (e.g., geologica). Brief entries of informational data. Vol. 2 covers products and services. Mugar Reference X AM 10 A204 2010.
  • Resources in Art History for Graduate Students: A Newsletter of Fellowships and other Opportunities for Art History Graduate Students. Adrienne DeAngelis. Grants, fellowships, internships, and other information.
  • University and College Museums, Galleries, and Related Facilities: A Descriptive Directory. Victor Danilov. United States only. Opening chapters on campus museums, historical overview, mission, types of institutions, governance, funding, marketing, and collections and research. Directory arranged by type from agriculture to zoology. Mugar AM 11 D35 1996
  • Voice of the Shuttle: Web Page for Museums, Galleries, Institutes, & Centers. Alan Liu, University of California, Santa Barbara. See also Technological Analyses of Art. Includes links to Conservation, Preservation, and Restoration; Provenance Research; and Technological Imaging and Analysis.

Collectors and Collecting

American Art Collectors.  Wikipedia. List with links to biographical information.

Archives Directory for the History of Collecting in America. Includes an Interactive Timeline – Art Collecting in America by Decade (1770-2010).  The Frick Art Reference Library, Center for the History of Collecting.

Art Collectors by Nationality.  Wikipedia.

Collecting and Provenance Research.  Getty Research Institute.

Journal of the History of Collections Online from 1996.  In print on shelf from 1989 to 2008 at Mugar Memorial Library AM221 .J68

Boston University Programs

Boston University American and New England Studies Program

Faculty, program, courses, and resources.

Boston University Department of  History of Art and Architecture

Faculty, courses, programs, resources, grants, Art Gallery, department news, and events.

Boston University Master of Science in Arts Administration

Metropolitan College. Overview, program requirements, course descriptions, and admission information.

Boston University College of Fine Arts: School of Visual Arts

Faculty; programs: studio training, drawing, painting, sculpture, graphics, design, and art education; resources; news and events.

Career Information

Archives & Museum Informatics: Conferences, Consulting, Publishing and Training

for Cultural Heritage Professionals. Daniel Bearman and Jennifer Trant, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Site includes: Museums and the Web and ICHIM (International Cultural Heritage Informatics).

Archivists, Curators, and Museum Technicians.

Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-2013 Edition. Department of Labor Statistics. US Department of Labor.


Museum Studies. Smithsonian.

Guidelines for Curatorial Studies Programs.

Adopted by the College Art Association Board of Directors, October 24, 2004; revised October 25, 2009.


Job HeadQuarters for Museum Careers. American Association of Museums.

Museum careers: a practical guide for students and novices.

N. Elizabeth Schlatter.

Mugar Library AM7 .S27 2008

Museum Employment Resource Center.

Lists jobs and provides other information.

Museum Management Program.

National Park Service.

Professional Associations and Organizations

Electronic Journals, Magazines, and Newspapers

For complete list, go to eJournals A-Z. For a list of journals with “museum” in their titles,  type “museum” in the search box and check off “contains.” For additional information on electronic journals, open Guide Index and click on “Indexes to Periodicals and Dissertations.”

Database Indexes to Periodical Articles, Books, and Dissertations


Abstracts of International Conservation Literature, 1932-. Indexes journals covering the “management and conservation of international material cultural heritage — broadly interpreted to include works of art, cultural objects, museum collections, archives and library materials, architecture, historic sites, and archaeology.” Getty Conservation Institute. Replaces the print version.

Note: Covers publications from 1964 to the present. Subject index to articles, book reviews, and dissertations on the history and culture of the United States and Canada from prehistory to the present.

Note: Covers articles published between 1929 and 1984. Periodical coverage includes English-language periodicals, yearbooks, and museum bulletins, as well as periodicals published in French, Italian, German, Japanese, Spanish, Dutch, and Swedish. In addition to articles, Art Abstracts indexes reproductions of works of art that appear in indexed periodicals. Subjects covered include archaeology, architecture, art history, city planning, crafts, motion pictures, graphic arts, industrial design, interior design, landscape architecture, museology, and photography.

Note: Covers publications from 1969 to the present. Indexes articles, books, exhibition catalogs, and theses on modern art, photography, and design from late 19th century to the present.

Note: Covers publications betweem 1973–2009. Getty Information Institute. Indexes books, journals, dissertations, and exhibition catalogs. Covers Western art, all media, from late antiquity to the present.

Note: Covers articles published from 1971 to the present. Includes all subjects (especially humanities and social sciences) pertaining to East, Southeast, and South Asia published worldwide. Users can search and also browse by country/region, by subject, or by journal title.

FRANCIS (2012-)
Note: Covers articles published from 1984 to the present. Institut de l’Information Scientifique et Technique du Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique. Multidisciplinary, multilingual database with emphasis on humanities and social sciences.

Note: Covers publications from 1969 to the present. Indexes articles, book reviews, and dissertations on the history and culture of the world (excluding the United States and Canada) from 1450 to the present.

Note: Covers nearly all art journals from the 19th century. Indexes entire journal contents–articles, art notes, illustrations, stories, poems, and advertisements. Source of information on popular culture and industry, artists and illustrators, painting, sculpture, drawing, photography, architecture and design, exhibitions and sales, decoration, and collecting.

Note: Covers publications from 1861 to the present. Citations to dissertations accepted for doctoral degrees at accredited North American institutions and more than 200 institutions elsewhere. Of the more than 2.3 million dissertations and theses cited in the database, over 925,000 dissertations are available for download. Citations to masters’ theses from 1962 to date; abstracts available from 1988 to date.

Exhibition Catalogues and Archives

Art Exhibition Catalogues on Microfiche, University of California, Santa Barbara, Arts Library. Microfiche set of published catalogues of exhibitions held in North American and European museums and galleries mainly in the 19th and 20th centuries. Mugar Memorial Library has many but not all of the 3,000 catalogues on microfiche. Microfiche are filed by a numerical code (1.031.004 = sale number, museum or gallery number, exhibition title number) printed on the right side of the fiche header. Mugar Micro Mfiche. Catalogues are retrieved using the indexes listed below:

Index to Art Exhibition Catalogues on Microfiche, Chadwyck-Healey Ltd. The main index is arranged alphabetically by keyword from “abstracte” to “zanetti-zilla.” Also subject, gallery/museum, and gallery/museum number indexes.
Mugar Micro Reference X N 4390 I 52

Subject Index to Art Exhibition Catalogues on Microfiche, University of California, Santa Barbara, Arts Library, 1984. Indexes the 45,000 exhibition catalogues in the UCSB collection by artist, style or movement, medium, subject, collection, then by country, city, century, specific dates. Separate index of museums and galleries. Supplements through 1989. The microfiche are filed under “Art Catalogs.” NOTE:  You can find out what catalogs are in the set by searching the University of California Santa Barbara library catalog. Choose Search Type: Call Number begins with and enter AEC.
Mugar Micro Mfiche.


Worldwide Bibliography of Art Exhibition Catalogues, 1963-1987, 3 vols. Indexes the Worldwide Art Catalogue Bulletin International Review of Art Exhibition Catalogues by geography, media, topic, monograph (artist’s name), and title.Mugar Storage N 4396 W67 1992. The searchable Worldwide database contains over 37,000 exhibition and collection catalog titles published since the early 1960’s. Artist Index.

Practical Steps in Evaluating Internet Resources.

Sheridan Libraries, Johns Hopkins University.

Research Guides