Editorial - Museums Association


Reflecting the UK's richness and diversity
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Simon Stephens
We have a remarkably diverse range of museums and galleries in Britain and I have been to see a real variety over the past few weeks.

Last month, I attended a Museums Association members’ meeting in Dundee. The event took place at Discovery Point, part of Dundee Heritage Trust, and I also visited the McManus, the city council’s art gallery and museum, and Dundee Contemporary Arts, a multi-purpose arts centre.

In 2017, the venues will be joined by the £45m V&A Museum of Design Dundee, which will give this city of 150,000 people a remarkable cultural infrastructure.

The museums are already working in partnership, with the McManus hosting A World to Win: Posters of Protest and Revolution, drawn mainly from the V&A’s poster collection.

At the other end of Britain, I went to the £4m Jerwood Gallery, which opened in Hastings in 2012 to display an important collection of 20th-century British art. Its latest temporary exhibition features the provocative work of Jake and Dinos Chapman, who grew up in the town.

The show was made possible by the Art Fund’s crowdfunding initiative, Art Happens, which raised nearly £30,000.

I also went to the Chiltern Open Air Museum in Buckinghamshire, which was founded in 1976 to rescue threatened buildings. The independent museum is running five projects that have support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, including a Catalyst grant that is being used to investigate new income streams.

Visiting the venues was a reminder of the richness of the UK’s museums and galleries. It also highlighted some of the great work going on all over the country, despite the financial pressure that nearly everyone is under.

For many years, Museums Journal has tried to reflect not only the diversity of the sector, but also the many things that museum staff and their venues have in common.

As acting editor of the magazine, I look forward to continuing this. Please feel free to get in touch if there is something you think we should know about.

Simon Stephens, acting editor, Museums Journal



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