Pop Ups, Alternatives, Fictive-, Anti-, and Micro-museums: Exploring the Edges of Museology


image: Old Geo in the kitchen of Old Geo’s Antiques, Saskatchewan, photo by Kirsty Robertson

This SSHRC-funded project examines “museums” and collections that are open to the public, but that fall well outside of the ICOM definition of a traditional museum. I am specifically interested in the critical potential of such institutions. This project picks up from a 2017 article that I wrote with Helen Gregory, where we asked: what possibilities are opened by scaling down the size of museums to the point where they can effectively remove themselves from the weight of day-to-day operations of museums? What potentials emerge when small size allows for innovative forms of curation to take place outside of typical funding models? How can those who feel blocked or hindered by establishment museums use the form of the museum against itself to create oppositional or critical spaces? And, is it possible that small size can in fact enliven rather than neutralize or deaden cultural materials?

I am currently in the process of writing a book on this topic, with an expected submission date of early 2022.

See one project outcome in the Vernacular and Micromuseums Database (US and Canada).


About Kirsty Robertson

Kirsty Robertson is Associate Professor of contemporary art and Director of museum and curatorial studies at Western University, Canada.


  1. Fiona Candlin

    It looks like we’re working on similar things. You might be interested in my book Micromuseology (Bloomsbury 2015) http://bit.ly/1MoBpjs and the Micromuseums Archive at Bishopsgate Institute http://bit.ly/1FKh3rG.
    Material for a cross cultural comparison perhaps?

  2. Dear Drs Candlin and Robertson, I am very glad to reach this page. I’ve been researching micro-museums (small independent museums/ grassroots initiatives) for the last years as the main museums under my PhD theme. Apart from that my experience as founder and curator of a micro-museum ( http://www.birmula.com ) contributes the practical side of it all.

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