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.


  • 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.

  • 26. Arab American National Museum with Devon Akmon

    August 28th, 2017  |  12 mins 22 secs
    arab american national museum, devon akmon

    Before the Arab American National Museum opened in Dearborn, MI in 2005, there wasn’t a singular museum telling the Arab American story. 

  • 25. The Museum of Socialist Art in Sofia, Bulgaria is Figuring Out What to Do With All the Lenins

    July 17th, 2017  |  8 mins 6 secs
    bulgaria, elitsa terzieva, museum of socialist art, nikolai ushtavaliiski, statues

    After the fall of communism in Bulgaria in 1989, statues of Bulgarian communist leaders, idealized revolutionary workers, and Lenins were taken down all over the county. Some of these statues are now in the Museum of Socialist Art in Sofia. Bulgaria doesn’t have a history museum that explores its communist past.

  • 24. College Hill and the International Slave Trade Walking Tour with Elon Cook

    July 3rd, 2017  |  10 mins 39 secs

    Elon Cook created College Hill and the International Slave Trade walking tour in Providence after researching the crucial and massive role that Rhode Island played in the history of slavery.

  • 23. Museum-Metro Station Hybrids

    June 5th, 2017  |  5 mins 53 secs
    bulgaria, sofia

    During the planning stages for the Sofia Metro in Bulgaria, ruins of an old Roman fortress and city wall were discovered at the network’s proposed Serdika station.

  • 22. Guide Training at Akagera National Park with Lisa Brochu

    May 15th, 2017  |  10 mins 25 secs

    I met interpretive planner Lisa Brochu in Akagara National Park in Rwanda. I was there as a tourist, and she was there as a guide trainer. Lisa’s teaching stresses that the best way to communicate with the visiting public is by having strong, central theme.