Self-Censorship in Museums: The Case of Sex: A Tell-all Exhibition

Katherine Seally


The issue of self-censorship in museums, while a vitally important topic, is not receiving the same amount of attention from academics as other issues that face museums. Self-censorship is, as the word suggests, the act of museums selectively censoring their own collections, exhibits, or other content. This includes omitting an object or narrative from an exhibit due to its contentious nature, or removing the object or narrative after the exhibit has opened. Self-censorship is a pervasive practice, but it is not always discussed or analysed in museum studies circles. It often happens behind the scenes and away from the public’s attention. In the context of the Sex: A Tell-All Exhibition, this paper discusses how censorship and self-censorship manifest in museums today. 

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