Online Course: “How to Develop a Code of Ethics for Your Museum”

aam-code-of-ethicsMuseum Study is a US-based organisation that provides online professional development to those working in museums, collection-management organisations and other cultural institutions. In this context, January 2017 will see the launch of a new course entitled “How to Develop a Code of Ethics for Your Museum”.

The course focuses on the code of ethics as a core standard of museum practice, as identified among others by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM). AAM states that these documents “embody core museum values and practices.” By examining codes of ethics and exploring the principles that they include, the course is a preparation for creating one such code in participants’ museums.

“How to Develop a Code of Ethics for Your Museum” will begin by looking at codes of ethics, generally, and answer the following questions:

  • What is a code of ethics?
  • What is the difference between an ethical and a legal issue?
  • Why should museums pay attention to both?
  • Why should each museum have its own code of ethics?
  • How is a code of ethics created – who should be involved and why?
  • What is the difference between discipline specific guidelines and codes and a museum’s code of ethics?

After exploring the basic questions about codes of ethics, the course will focus upon each of the main areas of the AAM code: governance, collections and programmes. It will examine the ethical principles each of these sections covers and explore key issues that might be of concern to different kinds of museums (i.e. different disciplines).

The course instructor is Sally Yerkovich, director of the Institute of Museum Ethics at Seton Hall University, US, and the author of A Practical Guide to Museum Ethics.

Starting on 3 January 2017, “How to Develop a Code of Ethics for Your Museum” will develop over four weeks.

For additional information and registration, please visit

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