Date of Award

Spring 5-16-2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

MA Museum Professions


Communication and the Arts


Martha Easton, Ph.D.


story storytelling, narrative, communication, museums, art museums, programming, fundraising, community, visitor engagement


Storytelling, in the context of art museums, is a method of communicating the qualities and attributes of art through a story. It helps the visitor bring the work of art to life and understand something the eye cannot see, a compelling narrative. It is important for visitors to discuss art and share stories on tours and through virtual media. We learn and form our own meanings from stories. These interactions will help build more relationships within communities. It is the museum’s job to take visitors on a journey and introduce them to new objects and perspectives.

This thesis addresses what storytelling is and how it is being used in museums today. It studies the essential components that lead to successful storytelling campaigns, including online initiatives. This thesis also describes how museums illustrate their mission through storytelling by showing how they bring communities together. This thesis examines the leading institutions in storytelling today: the Delaware Art Museum, Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History, the Asian Art Museum, and the Monmouth Museum. These institutions are highlighted to show the current developments of storytelling.