Call for Submissions 2019 - Fwd: Museums Journal - Death to Museums

Therese Quinn's picture
Call for Papers
January 5, 2019
Illinois, United States
Subject Fields: 
Archival Science, Area Studies, Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Black History / Studies, Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies


It might seem odd that a journal dedicated to museum studies would select such an intense directive as the theme for its fourth edition. But this provocative phrase turns out to be quite generative and open to interpretation. Death to Museums may evoke spectres of torch-bearing mobs ransacking Greek temples. Or looters stealing antiquities in times of war like the fate that befell the National Museum of Iraq in 2003. Maybe it sounds like the rallying cry of conservative politicians and fundamentalist religious groups. Or maybe it is saying the idea of the museum as a cold, aloof, and stuffy mausoleum needs to come to an end. Perhaps museums are killing themselves through efforts to attract more visitors and compete with tourist destinations, popular culture, and recreational commerce.

It’s all of these things.

“Death to Museums” is a call for disruption. It is a call to action and proclaims the need for change. This issue of Fwd: Museumsasks: Do museums need to change to avoid their death? Do museums need to die in order to change? Are museums under attack? By whom and to what end?

“Death to Museums” is an alert that cultural institutions held in public trust are at risk and need protection. It is an acknowledgment that museums are active battlegrounds in our deepening cultural conflicts. It is a threat that things will be different from now on.

Museums are dead. Long live museums.


Fwd: Museums invites academic articles, essays, exhibition/book reviews, artwork, creative writing, experimental forms, and interviews. All submissions should follow the guidelines and relate to the journal’s mission statement (see below). We strongly encourage book and exhibition reviews on multiple topics, but require all other submissions to connect to the fourth issue’s theme, “Death to Museums.”

Submission topics may include

■      Can museums engage conflict?

■      Death as a part of rebirth, like a phoenix rising from the ashes

■      Funding cuts to art and education as a perpetual threat of death

■      How do museums deal with disaster and trauma?

■      How do museums deal with death in the culture at large?

■      Private museums killing the idea of public or shared culture

■      The museum is where art goes to die

■      Museums as preservers of the past

■      Museums as perversions of the past

■      The ethics of caring for living specimens, dead things, and human remains

■      Keeping museums alive in a changing culture

■      And many more!


Written submissions should be between 1,000 and 2,500 words and in one of the following formats: DOCX, Rich Text, ASCII or binary, using Chicago Manual of Style formatting and citations.

All images should be sent as separate TIF files (not embedded in text) saved at 300+ dpi. Note in text where images should be inserted and include credit, caption, date of execution, materials used, and dimensions, as appropriate. 

A Note on Reviews

Reviews need not directly engage the issue’s theme but should relate to the journal’s mission statement (see below). We welcome long-form museum, exhibition, film, and book reviews with a point of view and connections to social, historical, political and other contexts.

Who Should Submit?

Students, faculty, scholars, professionals, artists, amateurs, adjuncts, volunteers, part-timers, philanthropists, activists, and other people with something to say about museums, exhibits, and cultural work are welcome to submit.

Mission Statement

Recognizing the need to critically transform museums, Fwd: Museums strives to create a space for challenging, critiquing, and imagining alternative modes of thinking and production within and outside of museums. This journal is produced by the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Museum and Exhibition Studies Program.

Deadline: January 5, 2019 by 11:59 PM (CT)

Submission Form:

Questions: Email us at

Contact Info: 

Therese Quinn

Director of Museum and Exhibition Studies

University of Illinois at Chicago

United States

Contact Email: