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Home » News » Turning Point: Visitor-Centered Exhibitions and Edu-Curation in Art Museums, Call for Submissions

Turning Point: Visitor-Centered Exhibitions and Edu-Curation in Art Museums, Call for Submissions

Published December 11, 2015
Pat Villeneuve, Professor and Director of Arts Administration and Ann Rowson Love, Assistant Professor of Museum Education & Visitor-Centered Exhibitions are co-editing a new book and invite chapter proposals due February 1, 2016. They have sent us the following information for interested parties to review.

Turning Point: Visitor-Centered Exhibitions and Edu-Curation in Art Museums

Pat Villeneuve, PhD, (Florida State University) and Ann Rowson Love, PhD, (Florida State University) (Editors)
Rowman & Littlefield

Call for Chapters

It’s no longer one or the other! Visitor-Centered Exhibitions and Edu-Curation in Art Museums promotes balanced practices that are visitor-centered and educational while honoring the integrity and powerful storytelling of art objects. We are looking for authors who practice and promote visitor-centered exhibition development using collaborative, non-hierarchical curatorial and educational approaches.


Since the 1990s, there has been a growing mandate, expressed in museum theory, literature, and policy, for a move from an object-centered practice to a visitor-centered one. Setting the stage for this transformation was Dutch museologist Van Mensch (1990). His work in methodological museology reconceptualized the functions of a museum from the traditional five (collect, preserve, exhibit, educate, and study) to three: preserve (which presumes collecting), study, and communicate. The most significant change came in the communication function that conflated education and exhibitions to the benefit of museum audiences. In 1992, the American Association of Museums underscored the educational mission of museums in a landmark policy piece entitled, Excellence and Equity: Education and the Public Dimension of Museums (Hirzy, 1992). Before the end of the same decade, US museologist Weil (1999) famously declared that museums must go from being about something to being for someone. At the same time, much of the dominant art museum education literature in the United States and the United Kingdom focused on the constructivist museum, particularly as articulated by Hein (1994, 1998) and Hooper-Greenhill (1994).


Despite some improvements in the field over the ensuing years, we continue to see the constrained position of education in art museums. With over 60 years of experience between us, we have reached the conclusion that museum exhibition practice needs to be changed to more fully achieve the educational mission of the art museum through visitor-centered exhibitions. To that end, we have coined the term edu-curation as our vision for a new, blended practice that makes best advantage of curatorial and educational expertise to benefit museum visitors.


Successful chapters (+4,000 words) will showcase visitor-centered exhibitions, clearly articulate ideas guiding their practices, and represent multiple voices, including the visitor. Manuscripts will be grouped thematically, with possible editor comment, for publication. Priority will be given to submissions that have multiple authors (especially educator and curator pairings) and report evaluations of visitor-centered exhibitions. Special consideration will also be given to co-authors who collaborate on exhibition development in art museums.

Chapter orientations may include:

  • Setting the stage for collaboration in exhibition development (When does collaboration begin? Who is at the table? How do collaborators contribute to goal- and outcome-setting?)
  • Specific collaborative and visitor-centered models
  • Case studies of visitor-centered exhibition development
  • Candid documentation of attempts at team curation or visitor-centered exhibitions, including discussions about conflicts and challenges during the process
  • Roles of evaluation in visitor-centered exhibition development and resulting exhibitions
  • Evaluations of visitor-centered exhibitions
  • The nature of collaboration between educators and curators
  • New roles for educators in visitor-centered exhibition development
  • Community participation on exhibition development teams
  • How visitor-centered exhibitions contribute to the overall museum mission and vision
  • Theoretical orientations of visitor-centered exhibition development
  • Preparation of future museum professional specialists in visitor-centered exhibition practices
Please send a one-page, single-spaced abstract of your proposed chapter to both and by Monday, February 1, 2016. Successful authors will be notified by February 15, with completed manuscripts due by Monday, May 2, 2016.


Hein, G. E. (1998). Learning in the museum. New York, NY: Routledge
Hein, G. E. (1994). The constructivist museum. In E. Hooper-Greenhill (Ed.), The educational role of the art museum (pp. 73-79). New York, NY: Routledge.
Hirzy, E. C. (1992). Excellence and equity: Education and the public dimension of museums. Washington, DC: American Association of Museums.
Hooper-Greenhill, E. (1994). Museum learners as active postmodernists:
Contextualizing constructivism. In E. Hooper-Greenhill (Ed.), The educational role of the art museum (pp. 67-72). New York, NY: Routledge.
Van Mensch, P. (1990). Methodological museology, or towards a theory of museum practice. In S. Pearce (Ed.), Objects of knowledge (pp. 141-157).
Weil, S. (1999). From being about something for being for somebody. The ongoingtransformation of the American museum. Daedelus, 128(3), 229-258.