The state of UK museums under review

IFACCA/Artshub,
25 June 2002, United Kingdom

'Resource', the Council for Museums Archives and Libraries, has announced the release of a new comprehensive report, detailing the state of the UK's museums and galleries. Co-published with the Heritage Lottery Fund, UK Museums Needs Assessment draws together the findings from a range of research and analysis, revealing the extent of the need for development and modernisation in museums throughout the UK. The report identifies a range of issues, including: concerns for the physical infrastructure of museums; a lack of IT facilities; problems relating to the management of existing collections and budgets for new acquisitions. Such issues are noted as detracting from visitors' experiences of museums and galleries, and also impact upon museums' provision for education and access. The report's fundings are said to confirm the view of the Regional Museums Task Force – a body set up to review the state of England’s museums – which in its own report, Renaissance in the Regions: A New Vision for England's Museums, has indicated that 'imbalances and shortages in funding', have meant that regional museums have not been able to achieve to their full potential. Matthew Evans, Chair of the Regional Museums Task Force, notes that museums 'have a unique role to play in learning, creativity, social inclusion and community and economic regeneration. But the sector is fragmented and rudderless', commenting that investment and a new framework is needed to ensure that museums fulfil their potential and the public benefit from such an 'invaluable' resource. UK Museums Needs Assessment is available on the Heritage Lottery website www.hlf.org.uk/ or on the 'Resource' website www.resource.gov.uk/documents/museums.pdf Details regarding Renaissance in the Regions: A New Vision for England's Museums can be obtained by contacting Jo O’Driscoll via email at: jo.odriscoll@resource.gov.uk