It’s the econom(ic inequalit)y, stupid

I have been toying with the idea of writing a post on class for some time (in fact for most of the time this blog had been sitting dormant I have been periodically writing and abandoning drafts of this post. I have been spurred to action by this week’s #MuseumHour, which skilled over from its allotted 8-9pm schedule and had museum tweeters in heated debates for most of Monday evening. I have a lot of thoughts which I found hard to express in a tweet.

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What’s your specialism?

So Neil MacGregor is concerned about the ‘erosion of curatorial strength’ in regional museums. As funding cuts bite and staff numbers in smaller museums decrease, there is an inevitable corresponding decrease in the number of traditionally specialist curatorial staff. MacGregor, speaking to a select committee as part of the Countries of Culture Inquiry, highlights the knock-on effect this has for the work of local museums, and how national museums can help. There is the suggestion in MacGregor’s answers to the committee that small museums will be unable to take full advantage of opportunities such as loans from the BM because of a lack a curatorial knowledge about which objects to make use of, and a lack of knowledge about objects in the museum’s own collections. While this is undoubtedly true in some cases, it is more likely the lack of time available for research, as opposed to a lack of skill or pre-existing knowledge which makes a difference. As MacGregor goes on to acknowledge this comes back down to lack of funding, demands on staff time and therefore a lack of opportunities for small museums to do the work they would like to be doing:

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Applying the Bechdel Test in museums

I recently shared an article on Twitter, ‘The Boleyns and the Bechdel Test’ about two costumed interpreters’ efforts to create heritage interpretation  at Historic Royal Palaces which would pass the Bechdel Test.

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Let’s push things forward

When I started this blog almost a year ago, it was because I wanted to push myself. I was working in a national museum in a junior role where I learnt a lot about the practicalities of collections management, but didn’t feel stretched, and didn’t feel like I was flexing all the muscles I developed during my Museum Studies MA. I was facing a lot of challenges and frustrations when it came to pursuing the next stage of my career, and was keenly aware of the parallel challenges and frustrations facing the museum sector. I had  a lot of ideas and didn’t feel like I had an outlet for them, so I started Acid Free.

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Museum Trends: when worlds collide

When I started Acid Free I wrote a round up of emerging trends I was noticing in museum practice and displays, and I intended to follow it up regularly, but have been slow to do so. After fretting that I had left it too late and many of my ’emerging’ trends related to exhibitions that have been and gone, I sat down to write about some thoughts on museums goings on I’ve been collecting over the summer. I realised that many of these trends are actually part of a wider trend – museums working in collaboration with other sectors and art forms.

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