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Museums in the Pandemic

More openings and closings in the pandemic

Throughout the pandemic we have been keeping track of museums opening and those closing permanently, or without clear plans for future reopening. We last reported on closures in May 2021, and openings in October 2021. This blog adds to those reports and includes closures and openings that took place between 2020–22. A further ten museums […]

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Museums in the Pandemic

Museum governance and reopening after lockdown

Which museums re-opened after lockdown restrictions were lifted in spring 2021, and did it vary by governance? In this blog we present our findings about the three largest groups of museums in our dataset: those run by local authorities, independents run on a not-for-profit basis, and private museums. As seen in the chart below, museum […]

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Research Process

Opening a Museum

How many people does it take to set up a museum? Conventional histories of museum founders usually concentrate on individuals – the collector whose artefacts provide the basis for a new institution, and heroic directors or curators who single-handedly drive forward their vision of a museum. In our experience, establishing a museum is a collaborative […]

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Research Process

Why did so many ordinary people set up their own museums?

Over the last few years the Mapping Museums team has collected information on all the UK museums that had been opened since 1960. You can read a detailed analysis of the data in the linked report or see the key findings on the website, but there are five points that we found particularly interesting. These […]

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Museums in the Pandemic

Coronavirus and Museum Resilience: Some preliminary observations

The rapid spread of COVID-19 has led to virtually all UK museums being closed. The issue at hand is whether these temporary closures may become permanent, and which museums are likely to be the most resilient, both in the short and long term.     Of all the museums that have existed since 1960 (when our […]

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Research Process

Mapping Museums: Preliminary results on UK museum closure, 1960-2017

Jamie Larkin The museums sector generally concentrates on current practice and developments; it does not keep longitudinal data that would enable academics and museum professionals to trace patterns over time. The result is that commentary on closure is focussed on the very recent past and lacks a broader perspective that could add insight to contemporary […]

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Research Process

Surveying museums: What’s in and what’s out?

We began the Mapping Museum research by investigating the numerous surveys and reviews of UK museums that have been compiled since the 1960s. Our intention was to use that material as the basis for our own dataset, but it gradually became clear that the various government and charitable bodies who had conducted the surveys or […]

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Research Process

Mapping Museums: Why bother?

Readers who have followed our blogs to date may have realised how much work, time, and money is involved in mapping museums across the UK. The team currently comprises of two professors, and two full time researchers, one in computer science and one collecting and analysing data. By the end of its four-year life span, […]

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Events

AIM! I’m going to map forever…

Last week the Mapping Museums team attended the Association of Independent Museums (AIM) annual conference hosted at Chatham Historic Dockyard. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the foundation of AIM, which itself gives a good indication as to the moment when the growth of independent museums began to gather pace. As our project is […]

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Research Process

Getting Started: Compiling the Data

The Mapping Museums project aims to identify trends in the growth of independent museums from 1960 to 2020. In order to conduct our analysis we need to be able to interrogate longitudinal data for a number of museum variables, including years of opening and closure, size, and status change. At present, no such database exists […]