Your favorite museum experience design reference books

A couple months ago I asked the hive mind for their favorite books that they recommend to anyone interested in museum exhibition development. And, as usual, the community delivered! I’ve been busy working on finishing the book proposal (which will be ready for prime time shortly!) and realized I’d never gotten around to publishing the compiled list you all provided me with. So, submitted for your approval is the following list of books you find useful.

If I’ve missed something, do let me know!

Literature scan as of April, 2019:

Alexander, Edward P. (Edward Porter), Mary Alexander, and American Association for State and Local History. 2008. Museums in Motion : An Introduction to the History and Functions of Museums.  

Anderson, Gail. 2012. Reinventing the Museum : The Evolving Conversation on the Paradigm Shift. 

Bedford, Leslie. 2014. The Art of Museum Exhibitions : How Story and Imagination Create Aesthetic Experiences. 

Bogle, Elizabeth. 2013. Museum Exhibition Planning and Design. 

Bourdieu, Pierre. 1986. Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste.

Case, Amber. 2016. Calm Technology Principles and Patterns for Non-Intrusive Design.

Davidson, Lee, and Leticia Pérez Castellanos. 2018. Cosmopolitan Ambassadors : International Exhibitions, Cultural Diplomacy and the Polycentral Museum.

Decker, Juilee. 2015. Technology and Digital Initiatives: Innovative Approaches for Museums. Innovative Approaches for Museums. 

Dexter Lord, Gail, and Barry Lord. 2002. The Manual of Museum Exhibitions. 

Falk, John H. (John Howard). 2009. Identity and the Museum Visitor Experience.

Falk, John H. (John Howard), and Lynn D. (Lynn Diane) Dierking. 2012. The Museum Experience Revisited. 

Hill, Dan. 2012. Dark Matter and Trojan Horses. A Strategic Design Vocabulary.

Hohenstein, Jill, and Theano Moussouri. 2018. Museum Learning: Theory and Research as Tools for Enhancing Practice. 

Houtgraaf, Dirk, and Vanda Vitali. 2008. Mastering a Museum Plan. Strategies for Exhibit Development.

Hudson, Kenneth. 1987. Museums of Influence.

Korn, Randi. 2018. Intentional Practice for Museums : A Guide for Maximizing Impact.

Lee, Ingrid Fetell. 2018. Joyful : The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness.

Levent, Nina Sobol, and Alvaro Pascual-Leone. 2014. The Multisensory Museum : Cross-Disciplinary Perspectives on Touch, Sound, Smell, Memory, … and Space. 

Lord, Barry, and Maria Piacente. 2014. Manual of Museum Exhibitions.

Lubar, Steven D. 2017. Inside the Lost Museum: Curating, Past and Present.

Macdonald, Sharon. 2002. Behind the Scenes at the Science Museum. 

Marincola, Paula, ed. 2006. What Makes a Great Exhibition? 

McKenna-Cress, Polly., and Janet. Kamien. 2013. Creating Exhibitions: Collaboration in the Planning, Development, and Design of Innovative Experiences.

McLean, Kathleen., and Association of Science-Technology Centers. 1993. Planning for People in Museum Exhibitions. 

Parker, Priya. 2018. The Art of Gathering.

Pitman, Bonnie, and Ellen Hirzy. 2011. Ignite the Power of Art: Advancing Visitor Engagement in Museums. 

Rader, Karen A. and Victoria E. M. Cain. 2014. Life on Display: Revolutionizing U.S. Museums of Science and Natural History in the Twentieth Century.

Roppola, Tiina. 2014. Designing for the Museum Visitor Experience. 

Samis, Peter S., and Mimi Michaelson. 2016. Creating the Visitor-Centered Museum.

Serrell, Beverly. 2015. Exhibit Labels : An Interpretive Approach.

Silverman, Raymond ed. 2014. Museum as Process: Translating Local and Global Knowledges.

Simon, Nina. 2016. The Art of Relevance. 

Simon, Nina. 2010. The Participatory Museum.

Stenros, Jaakko. 2015. Playfulness, Play, and Games. A Constructionist Ludology Approach.

Walhimer, Mark. 2015. Museums 101.

Weil, Stephen E. 2002. Making Museums Matter. 

Wilk, Christopher., Nick. Humphrey, and Laboratorio Museotecnico. 2004. Creating the British Galleries at the V & A : A Study in Museology.


  1. Hi Ed!
    Not entirely focused on exhibits, but I found Cognitive Development in Museum Settings by Jipson and Sobel
    (ISBN-13: 978-1848724891; ISBN-10: 1848724896) very helpful for exhibit projects (and related grants) done in collaboration with researchers. We even assigned certain chapters as homework when collaborating with cognitive development researchers on exhibit projects. It helps set such collaborations up for success because it gets both sides talking about their processes, goals, metrics, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

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