Posts Tagged ‘North West Region’

NEWS: Neil MacGregor Warns of Erosion of Curatorial Strength in the Regional Museums

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

John Caley Illustration

Installation of the giant deer skeleton in the Geology Gallery at the Manx Museum. Photo by John Caley, copyright Manx Museum and National Trust

In a recent blog for the Museums Association the former Director of the British Museum, Neil MacGregor  raised his concerns about the curatorial strength in museums outside London becoming “a very serious issue”.  Now retired and acting as advisor to a number of international institutions, MacGregor gave evidence to a select committee hearing last week as part of the ongoing Countries of Culture Inquiry, which is examining the landscape of cultural provision across the UK.

MacGregor told the committee that the financial constraints on local authorities meant that curators were not being recruited because they “rarely generate revenue” in a way that can be easily quantified leading to a steady erosion of curatorial strength in the regions.  He then went on to explain:

“This loss of specialist knowledge is making it difficult for some museums to borrow from other institutions or use their own collections effectively.  It is very hard for those collections outside London to be intelligent borrowers, because the curator needs to know what would be useful to borrow and useful to use; but perhaps even more significantly, it makes it impossible for the local museum to use its own resource properly.”

The Countries of Culture Inquiry are continuing to hear evidence from culture, museum and heritage professionals throughout the month and will issue a report on their findings later this year.

To read the full article which was originally published on the Museums Association blog, Click Here

COMMENT: Inquiry – Hard Times for the UK’s Regional Museums

Monday, November 23rd, 2015

The_Lowry_main_entrance

In an article originally published in Apollo magazine’s September issue, Jake Wakefield examined the numerous issues facing our regional galleries and museums.  As an organisation supporting and championing the interests of museums and galleries across the North West region, we at the NWFed were interested to read what Jack had to say on the key issues he felt regional museums and galleries are facing in the current economic climate.

Highlighting the importance of our regional collections as the first major creative influence to numerous local school children, families and other community members which has included people such as L.S.Lowry, whose artistic love for D.G Rossetti’s portraits he encountered in Manchester Art Gallery perhaps influenced his decision to become an artist. This importance our regional collections play within their local and wider communities is something not reflected in the cuts to their core funding which continues at a rapid pace.

Regional museums and galleries are consistently being asked to do more to help sustain their own sources of income – improve their cafes and shops, raise money by licencing their collections, renting out their spaces, applying for private grants, encouraging donations – but all of these actions together only make up a small percentage of the income they need to sustain their function within the local community.

National collections in London seem to have greater access to private funding, so how do we draw funders away from London and into our regional museums and galleries? As Jack states when closing his article, “small acts of philanthropy will make a much bigger difference outside London”; but how do we make this happen?

We welcome your comments and thoughts on this issue below.

To read the full article, Click Here