Museums, Heritage, and Death

I am working with Dr. Trish Biers to co-edit a new edited handbook for Routledge: Museums, Heritage, and Death. 
Find out more below and be sure to follow along at #MuseumsHeritageDeath and read our posts about it at this link


We are so pleased to make a big announcement about something we have been working on: 

Museums, Heritage, and Death has been accepted for publication as a Routledge Handbook! We are so pleased to be working with approximately 50 contributors on topics from cemetery programs to conservation of human remains and everything in between.  Museums, Heritage, and Death explores connections among the fields of heritage studies, museum studies, art galleries, and historic sites, and the examination of death, dying, and human remains displayed as objects. 

We plan to share more about this project over the coming weeks and introduce you to some of the contributors using the hashtag  #MuseumsHeritageDeath


So what exactly is our new book about? Museums, Heritage, and Death will provide a wide-ranging overview of the roles of curation and exhibition in death studies associated with museums and heritage centres where the dead are a significant part of the main foci. 

Museums are active agents for exploring the human experience largely in part because of the objects on display highlighting human creativity, ingenuity, and the classification of the natural world. A large part of this story, though not necessarily explicit, is death as featured in the hundreds of burial objects behind glass cases, or the contemplative memento mori on the gallery wall. From gilded coffins and mummies, to Renaissance paintings on mortality and the maiden, death and the dead body are omnipresent in museum spaces.

Latest News

Find out the latest on this project by following the hashtag #MuseumsHeritageDeath on TwitterInstagramFacebook. You can also see the most recent posts about this project and all of our contributors on our posts page.


Museums, Heritage, and Death seeks to explore ‘deathscapes’ by concentrating on the philosophical and anthropological foundations of the creation, curation, and proliferation of presenting death to the public.

This book will be categorized by themes very relevant to current discourse in museum and heritage studies. We have included wide geographical variety in authorship and diversity of contributor backgrounds. One of our main goals with this volume is to be as inclusive as possible of local scholars, both junior and senior, from a variety of regions, independent academics, artists who have worked with museum displays or published on death, public engagement and outreach specialists, and other “non-traditional” academic publishing contributors.


So what are the themes of this volume?  These are the (tentative) themes we will address in Museums, Heritage, and Death: 

  • PART 1: Acquisition, Curation and Conservation of the Dead
  • PART 2: Displaying the Dead – Exhibitions and Ethical Considerations
  • PART 3: Discussions in Decolonisation in Museums and Collections
  • PART 4: Deathscapes and Heritage
  • PART 5: Politics and the Dead
  • PART 6: Heritage Tourism and Death
  • PART 7: Public Education and Engagement in Museums and Heritage


With the increasing attention on death in social media, big-budget travelling exhibitions, and sheer volume of tourists now visiting sacred sites, this book will tether these activities to new ethical dimensions and best practice centred around death and the dead body. This volume will appraise collection practices and their historical context, global perspectives and resolutions, and offer suggestions in presenting these stories to the public through educational programs, tours, exhibits, and more. As professionals in the galleries, libraries, archives and museums (GLAM) fields approach new discussions about repatriation and anti-colonialist narratives, these forms of deathscapes are at the forefront of debate. Using a multivocality approach, this volume will provide a foundation for debate and reference for how the dead are treated within the public arena, and galvanise the call for more ethical frameworks and strategies for collaboration, particularly with descendant communities.

Follow us for more updates! #MuseumsHeritageDeath