The policy column

Sharon Heal, Issue 118/03, p17, 01.03.2018
When actions speak louder than words
This month, the Museums Taskforce publishes its findings on the state of the museum sector in the UK. The taskforce was convened by the Museums Association (MA) in response to the increasingly challenging financial situation faced by museums across the UK.

Over the past two years, it has narrowed its focus to three key areas: relevance, collections and funding. The taskforce has made a series of recommendations, and the challenge going forward will be to see which organisations, from sector bodies to governments, can pick them up and run with them.

There has been a plethora of reports and reviews aimed at the sector over the past couple of years, including the Expert Review of Local Museums in Wales and the Mendoza Review in England. While it’s good to have light shone on the sector, we need actions as well as words.

There are recommendations in the taskforce report that we can get on with straightaway. For example, the MA is collaborating to undertake research on collections and collecting that we will launch at our Future of Museums: Collections seminar on 20 March. We’ll also be working with sector bodies to organise advocacy events to demonstrate the value of museums to politicians, with events planned in Westminster and the Senedd, and we will roll out advocacy training and toolkits at our members’ meetings and events.

We’ve done a lot of thinking – now is the time for doing.