Vox pop | Do we need a national museum of England? - Museums Association

Vox pop | Do we need a national museum of England?

Three museum professionals respond to our question
National museums
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Emma Heslewood
Senior museum manager, Lancashire County Council

“As an English woman married to a Scot, I can see my husband’s pride when visiting the National Museum of Scotland, which explores his nation’s history, triumphs, conflicts and the people who have shaped its past and present. Its relevance to its audiences is clear. But where do people find out about England? There is no focus, no one place. Of course England and the English should be explored in a single museum. But where it would be and what form it would take would be interesting.” 

Nivek Amichund
Chief exhibitor, Historic Royal Palaces, Tower of London

“The national museum of England could be a combination of all the national galleries and museums in England. A mash up of the British Museum, National Gallery, Cornwall Museums Partnerships and the Birmingham Museums Trust, perhaps? England has a rich and varied history – one that should be celebrated. But perhaps not yet a museum. Maybe we should start with the equitable relationship that our national museums want to build with the communities they serve?”

Tehmina Goskar
Director and curator of the Curatorial Research Centre and a Headley Fellow, Museum of Cornish Life

“People bring their own narratives to museums to have them confirmed, but rarely challenged. The adversarial nature of political Englishness was shaped by its 10th-century origins, the result of a centuries-long conflict, of a Cornwall never properly incorporated, of kingdoms in Scotland, Wales and Ireland that still distrust England. It’s in the nature of heritage sites, with their terse labels and lawns, to make everything neat. How would a museum of England be any different?”

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