Ten Commandments for Effective Anthropological Exhibits

Nancy Parezo, Angelina Jones

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    1 Scopus citations


    For over 150 years scholars have discussed the efficacy and meaning of the museum and the social, political, racial, ethnic, and cultural variables they exhibit. At each stage of museological development this discourse has been crucial to advancing professional practices. Frederic H. Douglas, who served as curator of the Denver Art Museum's collection of American Indian Art from 1929 until 1956, was one scholar and practitioner who studied museum intent. Douglas asserted that museum displays should aestheticize American Indian art while simultaneously be accessible to non-native visitors. His assertions were grounded in the fields of psychology, anthropology, educational pedagogy, and art connoisseurship. In order to engage visitors, displays had to be intellectually stimulating and easily navigate the viewer without causing fatigue. Douglas's research into how visitors interacted with exhibitions led him to create Ten Museum Commandments for Effective Anthropological Exhibits. This paper delineates Douglas's experiences and observational research that led to his creation of these commandments and explores their connection to current museological practices.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)127-152
    Number of pages26
    JournalMuseum History Journal
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - Jan 1 2012

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • History
    • Museology
    • Conservation


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