Museums and Stereotypes

The Toolkit

[Above] Participants interact with the Toolkit at the Museums and Stereotypes International Training School in Milan, Italy.

Photo by Elisabetta Brian

Museums & Stereotypes: the Toolkit is a tool designed for museum professionals and designers. Created to support the critical investigation of the most common stereotypes in museums, it consists of three different activities aimed at favoring critical observation and socialization within working, training and professional development groups.

Museums & Stereotypes: the Toolkit is a project by ABCittà developed through the patronage and contribution of Fondazione Cariplo.

The Toolkit was first presented on October 17, 2019 during the panel Museums & Stereoytpes. Una conversazione su musei e pregiudizi (A Conversation on Museums and Prejudices) at the Museo del Novecento in Milan, involving international speakers and providing a range of different perspectives and experiences in the field.

The Toolkit and additional information on Museums & Stereotypes can be accessed for free at this link.

The methodological frameworks and design process that underpin the making of this kit were presented at the Museums and Stereotypes International Training School as a part of the presentation Design Methodologies Applied to Social and Cultural Frameworks, which can be accessed at this link.

The Toolkit was featured in Mercedes Auteri's article Un kit antistereotipi per i Musei. L’incontro al Museo del 900 di Milano e i risultati presentati published on ARTRIBUNE and available at this link.

Available both in Italian and English, the Toolkit consists of an instruction and visual bibliography pamphlet and a set of printable image and question cards.

The kit is thought of as a tool that does not necessitate the presence of a facilitator or conversation moderator, making the scope and reach of the tool as broad as possible.

The activities are explained both through diagrammatic representations and text, focusing on the rationales behind them and the expected outcomes.

A full visual bibliography has also been inserted in the kit to allow for a better and more comprehensive understanding of the social and cultural frameworks associated to the production of the images selected.

The question cards and image cards that are used for all activities within the kit have been formatted to be printed and cut on a home printer. Additionally, particular attention was paid to legibility, contrast and size, allowing for the tool itself to be accessible to a wide variety of people. 

Through extensive user testing sessions and feedback collection moments, the kit was collaboratively articulated as a tool that allows for meaningful and productive exchange of information and ideas to occur. 

[Above] The Toolkit was officially released at the panel "Museums and Stereotypes: a Conversation on Museums and Prejudices" at the Museo del Novecento in Milan, Italy.

Photo by Elisabetta Brian

[Above] Participants explore the Toolkit at the panel "Museums and Stereotypes: a Conversation on Museums and Prejudices" at the Museo del Novecento in Milan, Italy.

Photo by Elisabetta Brian

[Above] Participants study the image cards from the Toolkit during the "Clues, Tracks, Evidence" activity at the Museums and Stereotypes International Training School in Milan, Italy.

Photo by Elisabetta Brian

[Above] Design Methodologies Applied to Social and Cultural Frameworks

Presentation for the Museums and Stereotypes International Training School. BASE Milano, October 2019