Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology

2014 Edition
| Editors: Claire Smith


  • Moira G. Simpson
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-0465-2_215


Ethnomuseology is the field of scholarship concerning culturally appropriate museum curation and conservation of ethnographic materials using methods that reflect social, cultural, spiritual, or religious aspects of objects. These include traditional and ceremonial forms of care of culturally or spiritually significant objects in mainstream museums as well as methods being used in some community museums, cultural centers, and keeping places where cultural materials, knowledge, and values are actively being maintained and renewed using both traditional practices and conventional museological methods (Clavir 2002; Simpson 2003, 2006a, b, 2007; Kreps 2003; Peers & Brown 2003; Haakanson & Steffian 2004; Henry 2004).


Conventional museum practices are generally based upon Western scientific principles and the materiality of the object. An ethnomuseological approach is more holistic. It is informed by local knowledge systems and by the spiritual beliefs, cultural...

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Further Reading

  1. Rosoff, N. B. 1998. Integrating Native views into museum procedures: hopeand practice at the National Museum of the American Indian. Museum Anthropology 22 (91) : 33-42.Google Scholar
  2. Simpson, M. G. 2010. The spirit of change in museums: a study of the influences of indigenous cultural and spiritual beliefs and values on contemporary museum practice. PhD dissertation, Flinders University of South Australia. Available at: http://theses.flinders.edu.au/public/adt-SFU20101206.165012/
  3. Smith, C. & H.M. Wobst. (ed.) 2005. Indigenous archaeologies: decolonising theory and practice. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  4. Tapsell, P. 2011. Aroha mai: whose museum?, in J. Marstine (ed.) The Routledge companion to museum ethics: redefining ethics for the twenty-first-century museum: 85-111. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  5. Watkins, J. 2001. Indigenous archaeology: American Indian values and scientific practice. Walnut Creek: AltaMira Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Evocative ConsultingAdelaideAustralia