Museums and controversy: you can't have one without the other.




O'Mara, Bryanna Leigh-Anne Marie.

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Museums today have the possibility of acting as a social changer or influencer within a community by exhibiting current topics, emotional issues, or counter-cultural subjects for the further education and inspiration of visitors. The disadvantage associated with exhibiting these types of shows are the disapproval and negative responses that can be received from the general public and media be it community wide or national. In this study I provide case studies of three controversial exhibitions from the National Air and Space Museum, Colonial Williamsburg, and the Brooklyn Museum of Art that received negative responses to reveal the wide range of subjects that could cause controversy in a museum. Furthermore, I suggest recommendations for best practices for the museum community on how to exhibit emotional or controversial topics without attracting disapproval from the public as well as how to handle such responses if they are encountered.


Includes bibliographical references (p. 77-81).