About the show

A tiny show guiding you through the rocky landscape of museums. Museum Archipelago believes that no museum is an island and that museums are not neutral.

Taking a broad definition of museums, host Ian Elsner brings you to different museum spaces around the world, dives deep into institutional problems, and introduces you to the people working to fix them. Each episode is never longer than 15 minutes, so let’s get started.


  • 38. Conservation in the 21st Century with Sanchita Balachandran

    March 19th, 2018  |  13 mins 35 secs
    sanchita balachandran

    Sanchita Balachandran, Associate Director of the Johns Hopkins Archaeological Museum, hopes to see the field of conservation develop into more of a social process, rather than simply a technical one.

  • 37. The National Public Housing Museum with Robert J. Smith III

    March 5th, 2018  |  13 mins 9 secs
    national public housing museum, robert j. smith iii

    It would have been much easier to build the National Public Housing Museum from scratch instead of building it in the last remaining building of the Jane Addams Homes, one of the first public housing development in Chicago.

  • 36. The Underground Railroad in Niagara Falls with Bill Bradberry

    February 19th, 2018  |  12 mins 52 secs
    bill bradberry, niagara falls underground railroad heritage center

    Bill Bradberry, the President and Chairman of the Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Area Commission, thinks of the entire city of Niagara Falls, NY as an open crime scene from “the crime of holding people in bondage, and the man-made crime of trying to escape.”

  • 35. Cartoons from the Museum Floor with Attendants View

    February 5th, 2018  |  10 mins 1 sec

    Attendants View is a blog of hand-drawn, single page cartoons that capture a slice of a museum attendant’s day.

  • 34. Erotic Heritage Museum with Dr. Victoria Hartmann

    January 22nd, 2018  |  7 mins 36 secs
    erotic heritage museum, victoria hartmann

    The Las Vegas Erotic Heritage Museum is the largest erotic museum in the world. Sex scholar Dr. Victoria Hartmann has been the museum’s director since 2014, and her mission is to create a space for people to safely explore and engage the topic of human sexuality.

  • 33. Icelandic Museums with Hannah Hethmon

    January 8th, 2018  |  12 mins 28 secs
    hannah hethmon

    Iceland has many more museums per person than the UK and the US. The country is also in the middle of a massive tourism boom: there are several times more tourists than residents.

  • 32. What a Museum on the Moon Might Look Like With Michelle Hanlon

    December 25th, 2017  |  13 mins 27 secs
    apollo 11 historic site, michelle hanlon

    Today, we talk with Michelle Hanlon, a space lawyer who volunteers with For All Moonkind, about what it will take to protect these sites them for future generations -- and speculate about what a lunar museum might look like.

  • 31. Habemus with Romina Frontini & Christian Díaz

    December 11th, 2017  |  11 mins 20 secs
    christian díaz, romina frontini

    Habemus is a Spanish-language radio program about museum topics broadcasting out of Bahía Blanca, Argentina.

  • 30. Visitors of Color with Dr. Porchia Moore

    November 6th, 2017  |  11 mins 20 secs
    porchia moore

    Dr. Porchia Moore, Inclusion Catalyst at the Columbia Museum of Art, started Visitors of Color with nikhil trivedi in 2015.

  • 29. A Digital Approach to Museum Maps

    October 23rd, 2017  |  4 mins 19 secs

    Everything happens at a time and a place. In a museum, that coordinate system can help keep a story straight, even if it is not at the forefront of a gallery. And when designing maps for museums, we should keep in mind how humanistic digital tools are — and how helpful they can be to museum visitors

  • 28. Leaving the Museum Field with Marieke Van Damme

    October 9th, 2017  |  11 mins 51 secs
    marieke van damme

    Executive Director of the Cambridge Historical Society Marieke Van Damme always knew that working in the museum field is hard.

  • 27. Yo, Museum Professionals

    September 11th, 2017  |  4 mins 28 secs

    An interactive screen can teach global climate change in ways an object can’t.