Question time

MA president David Anderson's answers to your questions
David Anderson, the Museums Association's (MA) president, has talked previously about his vision for the future of the MA and the sector.

Now you can also read his responses to questions from the MA's website users.

Comments

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Rebecca Atkinson
MA Member
Online Publications Editor, Museums Association
04.07.2013, 14:05
Hi - I'm afraid we're out of time.

Thank you to everyone who asked a question - and thank you David for taking part.
Anonymous
MA Member
04.07.2013, 13:48
Does the MA believe that collections are no longer essential for a museum?
David Anderson
MA Member
Director General, National Museum Wales
04.07.2013, 13:56
Never in a month of Sundays. I have never heard any serious professional - or anyone else come to that - suggest such a thing. This is why I am always surprised when I hear the question asked.

We should have moved beyond the debate about objects v audiences. Both are essential to fulfil the mission of museums, and both require expertise. Collections are essential.
04.07.2013, 14:03
Thank you for saying this!
Anonymous
MA Member
04.07.2013, 13:43
What do you think the Museums Association can do to help smaller museums and galleries?
David Anderson
MA Member
Director General, National Museum Wales
04.07.2013, 13:51
The MA is an advocate for them. Smaller institutions play a vital role that is sometimes undervalued. Yet for many people, their local museum is the one that is both the most accessible and the most relevant.

There is a risk that, because of funding reductions, we will see the museum equivalent of the Beeching cuts to the railways.

Rural communities and those in least affluent areas - the communities that need their public museums most - could be the greatest losers, as the surviving services become concentrated in metropolitan centres. Let's hope it never comes to that.
Anonymous
MA Member
04.07.2013, 13:22
What are your hopes for the MA's recent report Museums Change Lives?
Rebecca Atkinson
MA Member
Online Publications Editor, Museums Association
04.07.2013, 13:54
You can comment and respond to the Museums Change Lives here - http://www.museumsassociation.org/museums-change-lives/25062013-the-vision

Or share how museums have changed your life here -

http://www.museumsassociation.org/museums-change-lives/26062013-how-have-museums-changed-your-life
David Anderson
MA Member
Director General, National Museum Wales
04.07.2013, 13:43
Very great!

Many reports that have tried to define the future of museums have ended up proping doors open - if they are lucky!

i believe that this report is clear eyed about the challenges museums - and their communities - face in an era of declining public funding. It places museums squarely in their communities, not floating above them. It offers both practical examples and useful principles.

The report is challenging, and agenda setting. Because it speaks clearly, it will be debated more than a report that fudges issues and avoids awkward questions. And that is good. These are not comfortable times.
04.07.2013, 13:16
What is your view about the sale impending sale of parts of the Riesco Collection by Croydon Council...? And what do you think the larger implications of the sale would be within local government as a whole?

http://www.change.org/petitions/croydon-council-stop-the-sale-of-the-riesco-collection
Rebecca Atkinson
MA Member
Online Publications Editor, Museums Association
04.07.2013, 13:36
Anthony - you've probably seen this, but Arts Council England has said Croydon could lose its Accreditation as a result of the sale

http://www.museumsassociation.org/museums-journal/news/02072013-ace-warns-croydon-museum-service-could-lose-accreditation
David Anderson
MA Member
Director General, National Museum Wales
04.07.2013, 13:35
The sector has clear guidelines and ethical principles and we should expect every museum to follow these. Any sale of collections outside these parameters will do reputational damage to the institution involved, and will have a lasting impact on its funding, and hence the service to the community the museum seeks to serve.
Anonymous
MA Member
04.07.2013, 13:14
Does the Museums Association see itself as representing the whole sector, just its members or a particular group of people?
David Anderson
MA Member
Director General, National Museum Wales
04.07.2013, 13:28
Most certainly the whole sector - across the four nations and all types of museums! The MA is the only membership organisation that can do this. It is our responsibility then to live up to that role.
Rebecca Atkinson
MA Member
Online Publications Editor, Museums Association
04.07.2013, 13:00
Hi and welcome to this webchat with David Anderson, director of National Museums Wales and the new president of the MA.

You can post your questions to David and the MA here, and reply to other comments, as the discussion commences.
Rebecca Atkinson
MA Member
Online Publications Editor, Museums Association
04.07.2013, 10:44
Question from Sharon Heal - What does social justice look like in practice in museums?
David Anderson
MA Member
Director General, National Museum Wales
04.07.2013, 13:06
It is different for every museum, but at the heart of it is a commitment to achieve greater equality of outcome - a more diverse audience using the museum in a more participatory way. and that in turn means reviewing everything the organisation does from an inclusion perspective.
Kate Kneale
Director, HKD Ltd
03.07.2013, 12:59
Do you agree that cuts have curtailed some of the most innovative and valuable projects being developed by museums? If so, can you highlight any examples?
David Anderson
MA Member
Director General, National Museum Wales
04.07.2013, 13:10
The MA's own research has shown that areas of work most severely hit by the cuts include curatorial and educational activities. My concern is that the museums most severely hit, which are often local authority funded and dependent on project funding, are also the ones which are most innovative and closely connected to their communities.
Anonymous
MA Member
01.07.2013, 14:24
A recent Museums Association report showed that London museums saw “nearly 90% of individual giving, 68% of corporate funding and 73% of trust and foundation support went to London-based institutions."
How do we (museum staff and the MA) get that spread a little more evenly around the country, especially to smaller independent museums who may not have the staff or resources to go chasing corporate donations?
David Anderson
MA Member
Director General, National Museum Wales
04.07.2013, 13:14
A key requirement for change is that we shuld start to say that there is a major inequity in the funding of the sector. There still seems to be a reluctance to do this at a national level. It would also be helpful if funders were more aware of the Arts and Business data on funding patterns.
Anonymous
MA Member
29.06.2013, 11:28
How do you see museums surviving once government funding is cut or massively being reduced?
David Anderson
MA Member
Director General, National Museum Wales
04.07.2013, 13:18
I wish I had all the answers to this one! the honest answer has to be that museums have always relied on public funding to a greater or lesser extent and reduction in funding means a reduction in service. Many museums can be more entrepreneurial, and use new funding streams, and other ways to find resources to replace public funding, but this can only mitigate the impact to some degree.
Jonathan Gammond
MA Member
Access & Interpretation Officer, Wrexham County Borough Museum
27.06.2013, 15:04
Successful museums need people who know their collections, people who can bring them alive for visitors and people who can engage with our many audiences. How do you think curators, exhibition designers and educationalists can best work together to ensure that museums' many USPs have the greatest impact?
David Anderson
MA Member
Director General, National Museum Wales
04.07.2013, 13:25
We need all to have some understanding of the work of the different specialists in our own organisations, and to be general museum professionals as well as museum specialists - and many staff already are. We also need to work closely with people outside our institutions who have skills we lack - and again many museum staff already are. The days of the mono-disciplinary approach are surely over.