Vox pop | What next for civic museums in the UK? - Museums Association

Vox pop | What next for civic museums in the UK?

Three experts respond to our question
Civic Museums
Kirsty Devine
Project director, Paisley Museum Re-imagined, Renfrewshire

“We’re fortunate to be working on Scotland’s biggest heritage project, a £45m refurbishment of Paisley Museum, part of a £100m investment in the town’s cultural infrastructure. It’s a grand statement of intent from the council. Nonetheless, budgetary pressures remain with competing priorities. We have worked in collaboration to create a world-class museum experience that underscores our civic value and meets the needs of our communities.”

Paul Sapwell
Chief executive, Hampshire Cultural Trust

“Civic museums have a critical role in our national and local life, but while their fate lies with cash-strapped councils, the future is bleak. National policymakers must take responsibility, recognise the system is broken and reform it. Museums need to be accountable, too. The public purse cannot plug the gap. Civic museums will only thrive by freeing themselves from direct council control, becoming commercially agile and focusing on customers who visit and communities they represent.”

Jodie Henshaw
Museum curator, Mansfield Museum

“Mansfield Museum has quickly identified the evolving landscape of civic museums and the need to adapt to remain relevant. Collaborating with Mansfield District Council has aligned the museum’s mission with community goals. By engaging with various council departments, the museum can utilise resources and expertise to better serve the community. This strengthens the museum’s impact and fosters a sense of ownership and investment from the community itself.”  

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