Museums

Age Friendly Museums 

This week I attended a free conference held by the Age Friendly Museum Network at the British Museum. Although I’m not involved in any projects working specifically with older visitors, and my current workplace mostly attracts a younger family audience, I was interested to find out about this topic as it is one that is little discussed in terms of audience development and diversity in museums. I was delighted to find that Scriberia were on hand to record the conference, and my snaps of their fantastic illustrations provide the images for this post. 

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Slow Museums


As a counterpoint to my last post about responding to current events, and the post I wrote for Registrar Trek recently about rapid response collecting, today I am thinking about the benefits for museums of being slow. 

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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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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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Free is the magic number

When considering the impact of museum funding cuts, I thought I knew what the threats might be: closures, or part-closures, shorter opening hours, staff redundancies, selling off collections, cutting back on all but the core activities. I didn’t think that something I’ve come to take for granted would be under threat: free entry.

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