Words are everywhere in the museum. They swarm amidst all the visual exhibits, and throughout many non-exhibition areas, talking to a vast swath of people in ways that visuals cannot. Signage at the information desk, visitor material, scripts for tour guides, scripts for exhibition videos, education plans, posts, blogs, membership brochures, audio scripts for smart phones, apps for in-depth information, and store labels. In a multi-screen world, where information explodes in every corner of the field of vision, clarity comes from the presence of words to organize the feast of visuals and help all audiences feel at home.
Research bears out the need for a range of learning tools and it’s not just visitors who benefit from verbal cues; donors, educators, community partners and volunteers will all engage more effectively with the museum that explains its brand mission with good writing. Whether written by administrators, staffers, freelancers, or interns, words must be delivered by your museum with the confidence they will connect meaningfully with all audiences. Your story is told everywhere, with every narration opening your doors wider.Completely updated, the Second Edition addresses the newest ways to put into words the distinctive stories you need to tell:
Current practices from a diverse range of museums inform every chapter.
All chapters recognize the many cultures in your audience, alerting writers to the sensitivity needed for effective communication.
For museums, historic sites, cultural centers and museum studies programs: if you ever wished for writing help, here’s the resource you’re looking for.
Margot Wallace is a marketing professional, a former writer and creative director at a global advertising agency. When she segued into academia, becoming an associate professor of marketing communication, she focused her area of inquiry on museums and their competitiveness in the arts and leisure market. She has written four books about museum branding, writing and research. Her numerous articles and talks surveyed topics such as Museum Branding: Competing for Loyalty and Dollars, Loyalty Dining, Pax Guggenheimia, academic museums, the symbiosis between museums and their stores, and beyond the brass plaque on house museums.
As a docent for a large Chicago museum, Professor Wallace has learned the museum business from the inside, and observed the many audiences that enter from the outside. As a coordinator of lifelong learning classes – in person and virtual – through a major university, she understands the expanded demands of contemporary communications.
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Wallace brilliantly showcases the range of writing styles used in museums, cultural institutions, and public humanities, providing examples and guidance useful for everyone from students to skilled practitioners. New chapters in this revised edition spotlight important topics including social media and inclusivity. A must read for professionals in museums and adjacent fields!
Margo Wallace has produced an expansive resource in the newest edition of her book. Centering connection and inclusiveness within a running theme of thoughtfulness, she will make all museum professionals reevaluate their approach to writing. Truly a book that belongs on every shelf; it will certainly be on mine.
This is an invaluable resource for working professionals and students in the museum field, providing useful examples of how language engages audiences in a variety of real-world situations. The book is also a model of effective writing, presenting ideas in a style that’s easy and fun to read.
This is an impressively expanded edition of Writing for Museums, which takes as its focus the ways that writing and communication make it possible for museums to connect meaningfully with their audiences. Wallace also acknowledges, much more than in the first edition, the roles that diversity and equity must play in museum writing; of particular note are the added chapters on 'Audiences,' 'Inclusiveness,' and 'Collaborations,' which make this a valuable and developed resource for museum-based writers and educators.