MA research into public attitudes to museums

Geraldine Kendall, 05.12.2012
Tender proposals invited before 19 December
The Museums Association is looking to commission research into public attitudes to the purpose of museums and their role in society.

The research project will take place between January and March 2013 and aims to find out more about public perceptions of museums.

Key questions include:

  • Which roles carried out by museums (preservation, learning, place-making, strengthening communities, economic activity, individual wellbeing etc) do members of the public perceive as most credible, relevant and important?
  • Do people think museums should focus on the past with a certain distance from today or engage with contemporary issues?
  • Do people want museums to be sources of authoritative knowledge or places of debate?
  • Is long-term preservation the core role of museums, or is serving today’s users?
  • To what extent do people see museums as trustworthy?

The results will inform the MA’s Museums 2020 campaign to develop a bold vision of the kinds of impacts museums can have in future on individuals, communities and society.

The research project has received funding from Arts Council England (ACE), Museums Galleries Scotland (MGS) and CyMAL: Museums, Archives and Libraries Wales.

The MA’s head of policy, Maurice Davies, said: “I hope that the research will help museums understand more about what their audiences and communities expect of museums.

"It will certainly help the MA develop the next version of Museums 2020, which we plan to issue in the summer.

“I'm delighted that MGS and CyMAL are adding to funding from ACE so that we can include Scotland and Wales in the research.”

Independent research agencies are invited to submit tender proposals to Sara Selwood, by 5pm on 19 December.

Click here to download the full research brief (word)