Mapping Museums: Preliminary results on UK museum closure, 1960-2017
Mapping Museums is a University blog researching the history and geography of the UK independent sector 1960-2020.
Jamie Larkin is a researcher at Birkbeck College, University of London, and has recently posted this interesting article in the College’s blog.
“The museums sector generally concentrates on current practice and developments; it does not keep longitudinal data that would enable academics and museum professionals to trace patterns over time.
The result is that commentary on closure is focussed on the very recent past and lacks a broader perspective that could add insight to contemporary analyses of this phenomenon. As part of the Mapping Museums project we have built a dataset charting the development of UK museums since 1960, and we have used this to draw the first substantive picture of museum closures over time.
At the outset there are two important points to address relating to museum closure that we’ve encountered while building the dataset.
The first concerns data collection. Given the historical focus of the project, a great difficulty has been finding information regarding precise years of closure. Recent closures and closure of well-established museums are fairly well documented. The real difficulty has been tracking down information for smaller, grassroots, regional museums – particularly those that closed 15, 20, or 25 years ago….”