The Public closed in November 2013 due to budget cuts

Should poorly performing museums be forced to close?

Rebecca Atkinson, 06.10.2015
Vote in the poll and have your say
Cuts to public funding have put increasing numbers of museums and galleries at risk of closure, but should poorly performing organisations be forced to close?
 
At the Museums Association Conference & Exhibition in Birmingham from 5-6 November, cultural consultant Lara Ratnaraja will chair a session looking at how services, such as Birmingham Museums Trust and Waltham Forest, have successfully campaigned against closure and cuts.
 
But should museums that are not performing be forced to shut? Vote in the poll and have your say in the comment box below.

Links

Museums Association conference programme 2015

Cuts Survey 2015
 

Poll

Should poorly performing museums be forced to close?



Comments

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Anonymous
03.12.2015, 21:41
Our small museum in Essex run by volunteers and we may be forced to close, one of the results will be the loss of contact with local people and the history they bring to us for future generations to learn from. What we are seeing is Asset stripping by local government departments. Our building has been earmarked for possible residential use!
Anonymous
15.10.2015, 07:57
I don't think the issue is just the options, the phrasing of the question seems odd. "Forced" to close? Who has that power?

For me it's a question of whether museums that cannot be sustained, that are seeing minimal visitor numbers, should be kept open as a point of principle. Or, in terms closer to the original question, "Should failing museums be allowed to close?"
Anonymous
14.10.2015, 14:32
I agree that this question should be withdrawn. "Poorly performing" is an inadequate phrase to define a criterion for closure. Assessed by whom? Including museums struggling to make ends meet but providing the service the users respect and enjoy? Forced - how and by whom?
Anonymous
MA Member
07.10.2015, 17:45
This is a closed question to a complex issue. It would be interesting to know how the information gathered - a percentage of people saying 'yes' and a percentage saying 'no' - could be of real use without a context? Museums may have different agendas according to the community they serve and performing successfully could mean many different things, within the boundaries of professional ethics.
Anonymous
MA Member
07.10.2015, 17:19
As the three previous comments have said -- it is almost impossible to answer this question as a simple yes or no.

The best thing to do with this poll is withdraw it with immediate effect.

The issue needs discussion, but NOT with such a polarising yes/no question!
Anonymous
MA Member
07.10.2015, 16:45
It would be necessary to clearly understand why the individual museum was failing to answer this important question. Poor governance and swift and stringent funding cuts might be at the top of the list of reasons why an organisation performs below standard. If the situation could be rectified, and the momentum and resources exist to do so, then the answer is a resounding 'no', the poorly performing museum should be helped back on its feet. But with local authority funding going one way, and some museums facing up to 40% cuts over the next four years, whether failing or not, it could be too late for a discussion.
Anonymous
MA Member
07.10.2015, 16:44
To answer the previous comment, 'Poor Performance' must be judged against the performance criteria set for the museum by it's trustees and management. These will be about, inter alia, visitor numbers, visitor feedback, collections care, financial performance etc. all of which should be examined and assessed in the round to form a balanced view of performance.

Once such a view is formed then attempts should be made to rectify the poor performance which will include a range of options, ultimately including replacing boards and management teams. But if the poor performance remains then the ultimate sanction must be closure, to avoid spending more time, effort and resources on a lost cause.
Anonymous
MA Member
06.10.2015, 18:05
Interesting question. Hard to answer without thinking about how 'poor performance' is defined? Lack of visitors? Poor collections care? Poor financial planning and performance?





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