Consultation and next steps

What you think about the future of museums and their impact
Museums 2020 was the Museums Association's consultation to create a bold vision for UK museums and their impact – the difference museums can have on individuals, communities, society and the environment.

In 2012, we published a discussion paper and held workshops throughout the UK. Museums 2020 was also a theme at our 2012 annual conference.

Overall, we heard from several hundred people and organisations, and now we have published a report on their reactions.

In brief, key reactions to Museums 2020 are:

1. Some applaud the overall messages of Museums 2020, others are less happy. While many agreed with the basic Museums 2020 proposition that museums should focus on impacts, other respondents were less comfortable with this notion.

2. There is widespread support for many of the ideas in Museums 2020 and for the debate it is stimulating. There is enthusiasm for being forward- and outward-looking, and praise for the discussion document’s "passionate", "inspirational", "well written" account of, particularly, the social impact of museums.

3. There is particular support for participation and co-production.

4. There is recognition of the value of partnership working.

5. There is some suggestion that Museums 2020 neglects some museum impacts and some areas of museum work.

6. Many respondents think Museums 2020 underplays the role of collections.

7. Museums 2020 could do more to recognise the differences between museums, serving varied communities, with different assets and accounting to diverse funders.

8. Several responses suggest there should be more acknowledgement of the impact of cuts.

9. To progress, museums need to address several barriers and organisational issues.

10. There are mixed views on the issue of visitor number vs quality of experience.

11. There are mixed views about the benefits of permanent galleries or more flexible spaces.

We also consulted the public and stakeholders about what they think are the purposes of museums and their role in society.

Building on the Museums 2020 consultation, in July 2013 we launched Museums Change Lives, the Museums Association's vision for the impact of museums.


Report on Museums 2020 consultation (word)

Report on Museums 2020 consultation summary (word)

Museums 2020 consultation paper (pdf)

Museums 2020 consultation summary (pdf)