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.


  • 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.

  • 21. Apollo 11 Historic Site

    May 1st, 2017  |  5 mins 14 secs
    apollo 11 historic site

    Even before I started working in the museum field, I was thinking about the future museum at the Apollo 11 landing site at Tranquility Base on the moon. 

  • 20. Universal Design at the White House Visitor Center with Sherril York

    April 18th, 2017  |  9 mins 57 secs
    sherril york

    Dr. Sherril York, executive director of the National Center on Accessibility, was part of the team that renovated the White House Visitor Center in 2012. Design priorities included making the experience accessible for all visitors.

    The new visitor center features raised line floor plans, tactile 3D models, and physical directional keys adjacent to touchscreens.

    In this episode, based on her case study for the fall 2015 issue of the Exhibitionist, Dr. York describes the process of working on alternative navigation methods, explains the difference between accessability and universal design, and underscores the importance of not thinking about accessibility and universal design as an afterthought.

  • 19. Remembering the Rwandan Genocide Against the Tutsi at the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre

    April 3rd, 2017  |  15 mins 2 secs
    honoré gatera, kigali genocide memorial

    Recording from Kigali Genocide Memorial, we talk with Honore Gatera, the director of the memorial, about what his institution means to the city and country today.

  • 18. Maps and the 20th Century at the British Library

    February 27th, 2017  |  4 mins 48 secs
    british library

    In order to understand a map, you must understand how it was made. Maps are not neutral.

  • 17. Entertainment and History at Disney's America

    February 6th, 2017  |  6 mins 44 secs
    disney's america

    In 1994, Disney was hard at work on a new theme park called Disney's America. The park, which would open in Virginia not far from Washington DC, would showcase the “sweep of American History.” Confident and enthusiastic, Disney executives were walking a tightrope between entertainment and history.

  • 16. Visitation Trends at the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Seminole Indian Museum

    January 16th, 2017  |  11 mins 7 secs
    ah-tah-thi-ki, carrie dilley

    The Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Seminole Indian Museum is commemorating three anniversaries in 2017: the 200-year anniversary of the first attack of the Seminole War, the 60th anniversary of federal recognition of the Seminole Tribe of Florida, and the 20th anniversary of the opening of the museum.