Future of Museums
The methodologies museums use to collect, analyze, manage, and report data are undergoing rapid and radical change. Although the methodologies used to understand audiences have changed in fundamental ways, moving beyond simple observations and quantitative surveys toward the complexities and uncertainties of ethnographies and community-based participatory research, no new ethical policies have been adopted to address these changes. We use ethnographic case studies from a traveling exhibit on the Maya to assess ethics as they manifest in the evolving methodologies used to conduct visitor research. This focus is then used to frame a broader discussion on museum ethical codes and policies.