Museology Master of Arts Program

November 20, 2019

It’s Dangerous to go Alone: Understanding How Museums Preserve and Exhibit Video Games

Thesis by Galadriel J. Brown (2017)

Video games are increasingly common in museum collections, but little work has been done in the museology field to address how games are being cared for, exhibited, and digitized by the museums that own them. The goal of this research is to compare current practices in game collecting museums to identify the activities, philosophies, and costs surrounding video game preservation. This descriptive qualitative study involved interviews with collection managers, directors, and curators to compare strategies between three institutions. These museums differ in terms of content, size, funding, age, activities, and how their game collection is utilized, but they care for their collection in strikingly similar ways. Though each institution exhibits their games differently, they share similar philosophies and many of the same concerns about the future of game preservation. Further research is needed to expand on this knowledge base and promote information exchange to benefit museum professionals and the preservation community. IT’S DANGEROUS TO GO ALONE 4

Keywords: Class of 2017, museum, museum studies, museology, research, collections, digital, preservation


Brown, B., & Luke, Jessica J. (2017). It’s dangerous to go alone : Understanding how museums preserve and exhibit video games. Seattle]: University of Washington.