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Guidelines for Museum Reviewers

Editorial Policy

Museum exhibitions make important contributions to archaeological scholarship and are one of the most important ways that our field communicates with the wider public. For these reasons, museum exhibitions deserve examination by specialists. The AJA seeks to publish critical reviews of important exhibitions, museum installations, and other public displays of archaeological knowledge in the United States and abroad.  Museum reviews are usually published in the printed journal and always appear as open-access content on the AJA website ( Each museum review is part of a quarterly issue of the journal and appears in the table of contents for that issue.

An AJA museum review should not simply offer a listing of the contents of an exhibition or new gallery installation but should instead assess its strengths and weaknesses and locate the exhibition or installation within current scholarship and museum practice. Reviewers should draw attention to serious problems of selection, interpretation, and errors of fact. It is also helpful for reviewers to indicate the audiences for which the exhibition seems appropriate. Comments are encouraged on the value of the catalogue as a permanent record of an exhibition and as a work of scholarship.  Comments are also encouraged on the value of the website or other electronic publications.  Additional suggestions about museum reviews can be found in “A Letter from the Editor of the Museum Reviews” (AJA 122.1 [2018]).

Museum Reviews follow the AJA’s Policy on the Publication and Citation of Unprovenanced Antiquities (AJA 124.2 (2020) 175-7; When mentioning a specific object, reviewers should follow the same requirements as authors of articles, reports, and notes. In addition, reviewers should state whether or not the exhibition contains objects acquired after 30 December 1973 that lack prior documentation or evidence of legal export from the country of origin. Reviewers should also provide a link to the acquisitions policies of the museum or exhibition venue.

Reviewers are invited by the Museum Review Editor or the Editor-in-Chief, but suggestions of appropriate exhibitions for review are welcome.  Publication of reviews is contingent upon acceptance by the Museum Review Editor and Editor-in-Chief.  The AJA reserves the right to edit reviews for content and length. Examples of reviews in past issues of the AJA may serve as models (see open access museum reviews).

Museum Review Submission

A museum review should be submitted as an MS Word file, should be typed double-spaced in 12-point Times New Roman font with 1-inch margins on all sides, and should conform as much as possible to AJA Museum Review Format and Style.

A museum review will not be accepted and scheduled for publication until a signed author warranty and written permission to reproduce any copyrighted figures have been received.

When a museum review has been accepted for publication, it will be copyedited, typeset, and proofread. The AJA will communicate with the reviewer during the copyediting stage; page proofs will then be emailed to the reviewer with instructions for making any final corrections. While the reviewer may clarify or modify page proofs in minor ways, no major revisions are permitted. Corrected proofs should be returned within one week of receipt.

The reviewer will receive one electronic PDF copy of the review. Reviewers may also print copies of their reviews directly from AJA Open Access.

Museum Review Format and Style


Reviews of temporary exhibitions should be preceded by a heading listing the exhibition or gallery installation to be reviewed. For example:

Unearthing the Truth: Egypt’s Pagan and Coptic Sculpture, Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, 13 February–10 May 2009, curated by Edna R. Russmann.

Roma: La Pittura di un Impero, Scuderie del Quirinale, Rome, 24 September 2009–17 January 2010, curated by Eugenio La Rocca, Serena Ensoli, Stefano Tortorella, and Massimiliano Papini.

If the exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue, the bibliographic information should be included. For example:

Unearthing the Truth: Egypt’s Pagan and Coptic Sculpture, by Edna R. Russmann. New York: Brooklyn Museum 2009. Pp. 91, color figs. 44. ISBN 978-0-87273-162-2 (cloth). $19.95.

Roma: La Pittura di un Impero, edited by Eugenio La Rocca, Serena Ensoli, Stefano Tortorella, and Massimiliano Papini. Milan: Skira 2009. Pp. 333, b&w figs. 71, color figs. 172. ISBN 978-88-572-0425-3 (paper). €38.

Reviewer Information

At the end of the review, reviewers should include their name in the exact format in which they would like it to appear, department (optional), institution, location, and email address. Or, if the reviewer is an independent scholar: their name in the exact format in which they would like it to appear, Independent Scholar, location, and email address. Authors who wish to present their information differently are welcome to discuss it with us.

Text and References

A review should run approximately 4,000 to 5,000 words. Notes and accompanying bibliography are permitted. See also the list of AJA abbreviations of titles of periodicals and standard reference works. Works not listed should be written in full.


A museum review may be accompanied by up to five figures. Authors may include up to five additional figures to appear as online-only supplementary material. No figures will be published without written permission from the copyright holder. See Figure Preparation on the AJA website for more information.

Additional Formatting and Style Information

For other matters of style and format, AJA Museum Reviews should follow the guidelines for all contributors to the AJA: