I’ve been a podcast listener for a while, but when I started my own podcast, Museums in Strange Places, I started listening to a much wider variety of shows and more shows on my subject, museum work and museum professionals. That led me to compile a list of all the podcasts about museum work and museum professionals that I could find (with help from the Twitterverse and the EMP Facebook group).
You’ll find the fruit of my labors below: a complete (-ish) list of podcasts about museum work.
Where relevant or possible, I’ve included my own opinions of these podcasts. I’ve included any podcasts that are aimed at museum professionals or about museum work. I have omitted podcasts about things found in museums (like art podcasts or history podcasts that are just about the subject matter found in museums) and podcasts that are by museums but not about the museum field specifically.
P.S. Besides putting my favorite two or three first, these are not in any particular order.
Subject: “By examining history, visiting new institutions, and interviewing museum people, we try to understand what a great museum means. Museum Archipelago believes that no museum is neutral and no museum is an island.”
I love this podcast. It’s definitely my favorite podcast for museum professionals right now. The episodes are short, concise, and cover a wide variety of topics related to the field. Ian clearly puts a lot of thought behind each subject and his interviews as well as a lot of time into producing a high-quality sound. I really appreciate the global aspect as well…in fact, the episodes about Bulgarian museums (Ian has Bulgarian ancestry) are my favorite.
Host: Ian Elsner is a software developer for Richard Lewis Media Group.
Museum People Podcast
Subject: “…, a NEMA-produced podcast that celebrates individuals connected with the museum field by highlighting their work, passions, opinions, and personalities.”
This is one of my long-time favorite podcasts. Dan and Marieke are experts in the field, so I would tune in just to learn from them, but their insights and banter combined with a great line-up of guests makes for truly inspiring podcasting. In each episode, the hosts offer short interviews with people from every part of the museum field in New England that will get your creative and professional brain juices flowing and perhaps challenge your museum practice a bit.
Hosts: Dan Yaeger and Marieke Van Damme for New England Museums Association (NEMA). Dan is the director of NEMA and Marieke is the Executive Director of the Cambridge Historical Society.
Subject: Presented by the American Alliance of Museums, this is “a podcast for the progressive museum. Every month, co-hosts Jeffrey Inscho and Suse Anderson investigate the fascinating work and personalities in and around the museum sector. The pair explore some of the sector’s most stimulating questions, institutions, and practices, with a focus on emergent, boundary-pushing work and ideas.
I’ve got mixed feelings on this podcast. On one hand, the hosts seem very knowledgable and they have a stellar line-up of guests that includes some of the best and brightest of the U.S. museum field. On the other hand, it could use a lot more editing. The episodes are regularly over an hour can be as long as 1:15. Each episode begins with a lot of not-too-relevant or compelling banter, and the interviews would be better served by more editing. I’ve listened to a few episodes, but would probably listen to more if there were two 30 minutes episodes vs. a single hour+ episode each month. That said, I’ve had a lot of people talk about how much they love this podcast, so I recommend giving it a listen and judging for yourself.
Hosts: Jeffrey Inscho is director of The Studio at Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh and Suse Anderson works in the Museum Studies Program at The George Washington University.
The Museum Life with Carol Bossert
Created more in the live online radio/radio talk show genres than that of podcasting, this hour-long show is about “issues that affect the cultural sector from the technical to the philosophical. In an era of sound bites and tweets, it is a luxury to spend an hour in thoughtful conversation. Guests include museum insiders as well as authors, scholars, and community leaders. Discussion topics include the role of museums in civil society, the influence of digital technologies, race in museums, workforce diversity and the changing nature of exhibitions.”
Host: Carol Bossert is a museum professional with twenty-five years of working in and for cultural organizations as Carol Bossert Services.
Subject: “Join Paula Santos, a podcast addict and lover of everything arts and culture, in conversation with other museum and cultural workers, educators, artists, activists, and leaders about how we work with our communities and the public at large. She is particularly interested in how the work we do in museums, non-profits or other cultural organizations intersects and is informed by larger questions of race and inequity in society.”
I’ve only listened to one episode of this new podcast so far, but it will definitely stay on my radar. Episodes can be a bit long, but I have a feeling the quality of recording and editing will only improve in time…and the subjects Paula tackles and the perspectives of her guests more than make up for any issues in production. Also, the podcast name and artwork are so lovely!
Host: Paula Santos is the Teacher & Student Programs Coordinator at the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago.
How to Listen: iTunes
The C- Word
Subject: Not to be confused with a podcast of the same name about Orphan Black and clones started around the same time, the hosts of The C-Word talk about “all sorts of things from the perspective of conservation professionals, from museum trends and new technology to the big issues like pay and staying safe at work.”
I’ve only listened to one episode of this podcast (the one on plastics conservation), but I loved it. There were some technical difficulties in production, but nothing too serious. I think the only thing keeping me from listening further is the long episode length.
Hosts: Kloe Rumsey, Jenny Mathiasson, Christina Rozeik
How to Listen: iTunes
Subject: “A podcast series about the LGBTQ museum and gallery workers that are bringing queer stories to life in cultural spaces.”
I’m a snob when it comes to listening to poorly produced podcasts, so I was delighted to discover these are four very ear-friendly 15-20 minute episodes. I haven’t listened to all of them, but have really enjoyed what I’ve heard so far. They were produced for LGBT history month, so I’m not sure if there will be more…but I hope so! Here’s a more detailed review of the first three episodes.
Hosts? I couldn’t find out who is actually hosting the podcast, but it appears that the folks behind the podcast are Sacha Coward, Russell Dornan and Shaun O’Boyle. The podcast is apparently a project of the Queering Museums initiative.
The Gallery Gap
“WVIK Quad Cities NPR has partnered with the Figge Art Museum and Augustana College’s Teaching Museum of Art to produce a new podcast focusing on underrepresented populations in art galleries across the world.”
Hosts: Melissa Mohr is the director of Education at the Figge and Claire Kovacs is the director of the Augustana.
Subject: Habemus is a regular radio show broadcasted from Bahía Blanca, Argentina. The folks at Habemus wanted to bridge the divide between the public and the museums in the region. I really love this idea because it’s something I aspire to do in my own
podcast: inspired museum professionals to be better and inspire the public to pay more attention to museums. I do not speak Spanish, so I haven’t been able to listen to their broadcasts, but I did get to hear the founders of the group speak at the Museum Ideas conference in London in October, 2017, and it was quite inspiring. For non-Spanish speakers, you can read about Habemus in Museum-iD magazine or listen to their podcast interview on Museum Archipelago.
Hosts: Romina Frontini and Christian Díaz
Subject: Museum Confidential is a behind-the-scenes look at museums hosted by Jeff Martin of Philbrook Museum of Art and produced by Scott Gregory with Public Radio Tulsa. New episodes every two weeks.
Host: Jeff Martin is the Communications Manager at the Philbrook.
Subject: This is the podcast of the Australian social group for GLAM (galleries, libraries, archives, museums) professionals, newCardigan. They help GLAM professionals “to be more awesome. We critique ourselves, and GLAM practice.”
Host: Justine Hanna
Subject: This podcast has a clever concept, two recent museum studies grads discussing relevant issues to the field. “The one and
only Podcast all about museums, museum studies, and museology from a fresh perspective…two
Americans trying to navigate the world as museum professionals. Listen in to learn about the tried and true topics to the contemporary themes of museum studies!”
Hosts: Mary Akemon and Allison Koppin
Subject: “Open Admission is a podcast that explores museums and the people who work in them.” This podcast ran for one short season and covered mostly (or all, I didn’t listen to much) museums in the greater LA area. The overly-long episodes and poor sound quality stopped me from listening to more than the first ten or twenty minutes of two episodes.
Hosts: Jenny Gillett and Zoe Silverman
How to Listen: iTunes
A podcast in Swedish from the Riksantikvarieämbetet (Swedish National Heritage Board): “Några av Riksantikvarieämbetets medarbetare väljer ett ämne och grottar sedan ner sig rejält i det. Det kan vara allt från uppstoppade hästar till runor, bemålad sten till riksintressen.”
Host: Riksantikvarieämbetet (Swedish National Heritage Board)
How to Listen: iTunes
Museums in Strange Places
Of course, I have to include my own podcast on this list! Museums in Strange Places is a podcast for people who love museums, stories, culture, and exploring the world.
This year, I’m living in Iceland, so in each episode, I visit a different Icelandic museum to discover what stories they hold and how they reflect and shape Iceland’s unique cultural identity, all from the perspective of a museum professional. Next year…I’ll be somewhere else in Europe!
Subscribe to Museums in Strange Places and you can expect fascinating conversations with Icelandic museum professionals, world class exhibitions, private museums in gas stations, an introduction to Icelanders and their knack for storytelling, and a unique window into the inner workings of museums on this strange but wonderful little island.
Host: Hannah Hethmon…that’s ME! I’m an American Fulbright Fellow living in Reykjavík. I have a BA in English Literature from the University of Maryland, College Park and an MA from the University of Iceland in Medieval Icelandic Studies. Prior to this Fulbright year, I spent two years as the Marketing Coordinator for the American Association for State and Local History, a Nashville-based national nonprofit dedicated to serving history museums, historical societies, and other public history institutions.