The year 2020 brought, due to the global pandemic of covid-19, a specific view on the nature of the work, its forms, meanings, roles and perspectives in the human life, and it also significantly affected both the work of museums. The upcoming double issue of the Acta Musei Nationalis Pragae – Historia journal seeks to offer a space to an up-to-date and open reflection on the topic of WORK & MUSEUM within the museum field, but also to highlight and engage the topic of museum work values into an operational dialogue with other fields.

In the context of human society, we perceive work as a process, production, distribution, presentation and consumption of goods or services. It relates very substantially to the areas of interpersonal relationships, cultural and artistic values. Approached through this lens, exploring work in the museum environment becomes a considerable challenge.

We are interested in views on collections, collection objects and artifacts which preserve the memory of human “work” as evidence of historical products and processes of human activity. This is also associated with reflections, both from inside and outside of the museum space, on working resources, their nature and specifics. The collection funds and individual collections are being revised over time, relativised and placed in new contexts. These researches lead the appreciation of “human work” in the museum and shift knowledge into the often incalculable values of respect, recognition and wealth of cultural capital. Or vice versa.

Through historical objects, elevated in the museum space to the status of collection artifacts or archival documents, we can perceive the nature of the work of various disciplines: anthropology, botany, zoology, paleontology, mineralogy, archaeology, ethnography, history, politics, numismatics to theater, film, photography, fashion, architecture, design, art, literature and book culture, music and more. It is, therefore, possible to formulate specific questions concerning the activities of various museum professions and disciplines carried out by directors, curators, archivists, restorers, museum educators, depository administrators, but also technology and systems administrators, economists, technicians, etc. We can metaphorically perceive at the museum, along with other memory institutions, the prevalence of a certain model of thinking of the human culture, values and ethics of society at a given time.

It represents a challenge also for technical museums and their probe of memory and values of work in the industry. Fine arts galleries have their proper set of values, museums specializing in crafts and services provide another view, and regional museums and galleries dealing with local phenomena play an equally important role.

The monothematic issue aims to encourage papers concerning the phenomenon of work in museum space-time through:

a) collection, which represent the material or mental entities of the memory of human labor from the point of view of:

  • the origin or purpose of selected exhibits documenting certain processes which led to final products of human work;
  • the meaning of museum work related to thinking about the work of individual disciplines, we can look into old myths, as well as find myths in today's work;
  • we raise questions about the nature of a collection object or a certain process of physical or mental work reflecting the social relations and the situation of man in a given space-time through collections and collection-building activities;

b) museum professions, fields and activities focusing on the following issues:

  • the nature of museum work as a process of purposeful mental and physical activities, the benefit they generate, their significance and ethics;
  • changes in the conditions and lifestyle of museum staff in the historical discourse of a wide range of professional disciplines and through historical insights into economic, social, health, environmental or political aspects of museum work;
  • the history of museum work, specific positions or museum fields in the then in past conditions from the establishment of museums to the present;
  • the motivation of the museum employee and their social and societal position under the influence of wars, totalitarianism, as well as man in the period of freedom;

c) Museums and other memory institutions dedicated to various narrowly profiled specifics. We are interested in memory institutions working with the memory of work, such as museums of work, museums of memory, libraries, archives, national heritage institutes, etc., which can contribute to the following topics:

  • the preservation and reflection of work in memory institutions;
  • ethics of institutions, museum operations, history of work with memory;
  • the currently changing nature of the work environment in the museum due to technologies, museum activities in the virtual space in the time of Covid-19 and more.

The topic encourages authors to view the work of museums from the perspective of a wide range of disciplines: humanities, art history, social, political and economic sciences. The aim is to provide an insight from new perspectives on possible ways of communication in museum work in society and with society in given material, social, political and spiritual spatio-temporal conditions; for example through gender, ethics, politics, religion, etc. We are open to other stimuli and approaches to the topic.

If you are interested in publishing in the forthcoming issue of the peer-reviewed journal ACTA MUSEI NATIONALIS PRAGAE – HISTORIA, please send an abstract of the proposed paper (approximately 1000 characters) no later than 31st May 2021 to and Successful submissions will be announced by 10th June 2021. Afterwards, the manuscript of the paper must be sent by 10th September 2021. In addition to papers, other formats related to the subject of this issue, such as reviews of books and exhibitions or project and exhibition reports, are also welcome. Information on the formal requirements can be found here.

Issue topic: WORK & MUSEUM
Issue editor: Mgr. Pavlína Vogelová
Publication languages: Czech, Slovak, English