Institute of Museum

How do you save a museum?I am searching for answers. To me this idea of regional museums under threat is one I struggle with. My museum, where I volunteer, is in Greater London, the same London allegedly awash with money, the same London that gets the bulk of Arts Council funding. Yet my local authority museum is at risk of closure. Bromley Council want to make all staff redundant, sell the medieval Priory building that houses the collection and put a display case in the local library.

We have managed to delay the decision but I don’t know what the next steps are when faced with a requirement to be ‘revenue neutral’. What does that even mean? How can you expect to remove all funding in one fell swoop and ever hope to have any kind of service. Well I guess you don’t, what you get is a display case and that is not a museum.

So I have come to hear: Paul Greenhalgh, Director, Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Norwich; Ellen McAdam, Director, Birmingham Museums Trust; Sarah Philp, Head of Programmes, The Art Fund; Sharon Heal, Director, Museums Association and Piotr Bienkowski Independent Museum Consultant. I want to know what the answers are – How do we save regional museums? How do we save Bromley Museum? Where do we go from here? What is to be done?

Sharon Heal uses words like honesty and transparency. Who can deny we need those? We also need cold hard cash but that is harder to come by. She tells us we are in a crisis but there is room for optimism and hope. Some museums will close and some will stay open. There are more cuts to come and it won’t get any better. There is no sugar-coating this bitter pill. I know if we keep the wolves at bay in Bromley they will still be outside the door ready to pounce.

It's Interesting

  • An art gallery or art museum is a building or space for the exhibition of art, usually visual art. Museums can be public or private, but what distinguishes a museum is the ownership of a collection. Paintings are the most commonly displayed art objects; however, sculpture, decorative arts, furniture, textiles, costume, drawings, pastels...
  • The Brooklyn Museum is an art museum located in the New York City borough of Brooklyn. At 560,000 square feet, the museum holds New York City's second largest art collection with roughly 1.5 million works.
    Founded in 1895, the Beaux-Arts building, designed by McKim, Mead and White, was planned to be the largest art museum in the world. The...
  • The Tropenmuseum (English: Museum of the Tropics) is an anthropological museum located in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and established in 1864.
    One of the largest museums in Amsterdam, the museum accommodates eight permanent exhibitions and an ongoing series of temporary exhibitions, including both modern and traditional visual arts and...

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