Museum Policy in the UK

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Presentation to the international conference on Preservation and Documentation in Belo Horizonte, Brazil

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Museum Policy in the UK

  1. 1. Policies for cultural heritage Nick Poole, CEO, Collections Trust Belo Horizonte, August 2014
  2. 2. •CEO of Collections Trust •Former Chair, ICOM UK •Chair, Europeana Network •Policy adviser to UK Govt •Trained as an artist • Chief Executive Officer of the Collections Trust • Former Chair of ICOM UK • Currently Chair of the Europeana Network • Trained as a professional artist
  3. 3. Collections Trust Independent UK-based not-for-profit organisation working with more than 20,000 museums worldwide Established January 1977 as the Museum Documentation Association A professional association for people working in Collections Management
  4. 4. www.collectionstrust.org.uk
  5. 5. United Kingdom • A federation of four countries: – England – Scotland – Wales – Northern Ireland • Population 62.23m • An aging population • 99% literacy above age 15
  6. 6. UK Museum Community • The Museums Association provides a widely-accepted definition of a museum that is different from the ICOM definition: – 'Museums enable people to explore collections for inspiration, learning and enjoyment. They are institutions that collect, safeguard and make accessible artefacts and specimens, which they hold in trust for society.' • This definition includes art galleries with collections of works of art, as well as museums with historical collections of objects.
  7. 7. UK Museum Community • 2,500 museums or museum-like organisations • 1883 currently recognised under the Museum Accreditation Scheme • Partly funded by Government, partly by private enterprise • Majority of UK museums have free admission, but charge for exhibitions & services
  8. 8. UK Museum Community • Separate ‘museum communities’ – National museums – Independent museums – Local Government museums – University museums – Sites and monuments – Historic houses, gardens & castles – Historic coastline – Regimental museums – Royal Palaces
  9. 9. The legal environment for heritage in the UK
  10. 10. Law and heritage • No overall ‘Museum Law’ • Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964 – Established the British Library and National Museums – Makes no specific provision for local or provincial museums • UK has not ratified the 1954 Hague Convention on Cultural Property protection • Some protection for designated ‘heritage assets’
  11. 11. The cultural heritage policy environment
  12. 12. FFUUNNDDIINNGG
  13. 13. Heritage Policy: Education • Supporting a National Curriculum • School-level education • Promoting basic skills (literacy, numeracy, digital literacy) • Encouraging more people to enter higher education • Supporting ‘learning outside the classroom’ • National policy on ‘cultural education’
  14. 14. Heritage Policy: Health • Promoting ‘wellbeing’ as part of public health • Reducing healthcare spending through public education • Connecting cultural participation to health • Specific actions to support care for specific health issues
  15. 15. Heritage Policy: Tourism • Tourism worth £127bn per year (approx. 9% of GDP) • 195,000 full-time jobs across the UK • Heritage contributes to ‘soft diplomacy’ (Britain’s ‘brand’ worldwide) • 40% of inward visitors cite heritage as primary reason for visiting the UK
  16. 16. Heritage Policy: Community • Very significant variance in living standards & opportunities between communities in the UK • Improving cohesion and aspiration of communities through local heritage • Direct funding through Heritage Lottery Fund into local heritage initiatives • Strong heritage offer increases quality of life & property value and promotes reduction in crime & anti-social behaviour
  17. 17. Heritage Policy: Economy • Crisis in 2008 & slow economic recovery linked to fiscal policy • Very significant withdrawal of direct & indirect public funding for heritage • Reducing state responsibility for heritage & replacing with private enterprise and philanthropy • Lack of tax law resulting in low engagement from philanthropists • Increased pressure on admission charges and commercial activity • Loss of ‘long-term’/capital funding replaced by short-term project funding
  18. 18. Heritage Policy: Digital • Strong commitment to ‘Open Government’ • Belief in the economic potential of a ‘Digital Economy’ • Desire by Government to support innovation & digital skills • Heritage seen primarily as a source of competitive content • Improvements to copyright law to promote open access
  19. 19. Policy challenges • Relatively little ability directly to influence public policy • Creates an environment of short-term priorities • ‘Social’ policies have given way to ‘economic’ policies • Lack of perception of the ‘hidden’ aspects of heritage protection • Diversity of the sector can create challenges in identifying simple policy messages
  20. 20. The connection between legal, ethical and professional practices
  21. 21. LEGAL PROFESSIONAL INSTITUTIONAL
  22. 22. AMOUNT OF TROUBLE YOU’LL BE IN IF SOMEONE SCREWS UP
  23. 23. The arms-length principle
  24. 24. Government control/ regulation SSeellff--rreegguullaattiioonn
  25. 25. Advantages of self-regulation •Leadership by the experts •Ability to respond quickly to emerging issues •Allocation of funding where it is needed Government control/ regulation SSeellff--rreegguullaattiioonn
  26. 26. Advantages of self-regulation •Leadership by the experts •Ability to respond quickly to emerging issues •Allocation of funding where it is needed Government control/ regulation SSeellff--rreegguullaattiioonn Disadvantages of self-regulation •Lack of direct Government support •Difficulty in securing national funding •Prone to governance by cabal
  27. 27. ‘Social’ policy agendas affecting heritage
  28. 28. ‘Social’ policy context • Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights • “Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and share in scientific advancement and its benefits” • FARO Convention on Cultural Heritage • “The conservation of cultural heritage and its sustainable use have quality of life and human development as their goal” • “Promote the role of cultural heritage in the construction of a peaceful and democratic society and in the process of sustainable development and the promotion of cultural diversity”
  29. 29. ‘Social’ policy context • Increased emphasis on participatory culture • Changing practice to emphasise shared rights and responsibilities (the principles of the Cultural Commons) • Embracing the practices of the ‘Wiki’ community • Emphasising policies on open access, sharing of content and distributed authority • Compatible with the ‘cultural mission’ but not the economic one! • Moving towards user-centred design in the development of heritage services
  30. 30. Ethical codes for heritage management & preservation
  31. 31. Ethical codes for heritage • ICOM Code of Ethics • Museums Association Code of Ethics • Informal/professional deontology (the way we work)
  32. 32. Professional standards for heritage management
  33. 33. Museum Accreditation • National ‘minimum’ standard for museums administered by the Arts Council England on behalf of the Ministry for Culture • Encourages museums to achieve common standards in: • How they are run • How they manage their collections • The visitor experience • Encourages confidence in museums that are run for the benefit of the public • Requirements: • Complies with MA Code of Ethics • Holds a long-term collection • Meet legal, ethical, professional & environmental requirements • Be committed to forward planning
  34. 34. Accreditation & Collections • Museum Accreditation Standard requires the 8 ‘primary procedures’ of SPECTRUM:
  35. 35. SPECTRUM Standard • International standard for Collections Management • Two parts: • Procedural Standard – setting out flow charts of common museum processes • Data Standard – setting out common sets of information needed to manage the collection • Used in 25,000 museums in 40 countries and 8 languages worldwide • Not a prescriptive standard • Launched in Brazil this week!
  36. 36. UUsseerrss PPoolliittiiccss FFuunnddiinngg CCuullttuurree
  37. 37. UUsseerrss PPoolliittiiccss FFuunnddiinngg CCuullttuurree Organisation’s MMiissssiioonn SSttaatteemmeenntt
  38. 38. UUsseerrss PPoolliittiiccss FFuunnddiinngg CCuullttuurree Organisation’s MMiissssiioonn SSttaatteemmeenntt CCoolllleeccttiioonnss MMaannaaggeemmeenntt PPoolliiccyy
  39. 39. UUsseerrss PPoolliittiiccss FFuunnddiinngg CCuullttuurree Organisation’s MMiissssiioonn SSttaatteemmeenntt CCoolllleeccttiioonnss MMaannaaggeemmeenntt PPoolliiccyy CCaarree UUssee LLeeaarrnn DDeevveelloopp
  40. 40. UUsseerrss PPoolliittiiccss FFuunnddiinngg CCuullttuurree Organisation’s MMiissssiioonn SSttaatteemmeenntt CCoolllleeccttiioonnss MMaannaaggeemmeenntt PPoolliiccyy CCaarree UUssee LLeeaarrnn DDeevveelloopp PPeeooppllee PPrroocceesssseess SSyysstteemmss IInnffoo
  41. 41. UUsseerrss PPoolliittiiccss FFuunnddiinngg CCuullttuurree Organisation’s MMiissssiioonn SSttaatteemmeenntt CCoolllleeccttiioonnss MMaannaaggeemmeenntt PPoolliiccyy CCaarree UUssee LLeeaarrnn DDeevveelloopp PPeeooppllee PPrroocceesssseess SSyysstteemmss IInnffoo EEvvaalluuaattiioonn && iimmpprroovveemmeenntt
  42. 42. UUsseerrss PPoolliittiiccss FFuunnddiinngg CCuullttuurree Organisation’s MMiissssiioonn SSttaatteemmeenntt CCoolllleeccttiioonnss MMaannaaggeemmeenntt PPoolliiccyy CCaarree UUssee LLeeaarrnn DDeevveelloopp PPeeooppllee PPrroocceesssseess SSyysstteemmss IInnffoo EEvvaalluuaattiioonn && iimmpprroovveemmeenntt RRiicchh,, mmeeaanniinnggffuull eexxppeerriieenncceess ffoorr uusseerrss
  43. 43. UUsseerrss PPoolliittiiccss FFuunnddiinngg CCuullttuurree Organisation’s MMiissssiioonn SSttaatteemmeenntt A continuous cycle of improvement, learning, review, CCoolllleeccttiioonnss MMaannaaggeemmeenntt PPoolliiccyy planning and development CCaarree UUssee LLeeaarrnn DDeevveelloopp PPeeooppllee PPrroocceesssseess SSyysstteemmss IInnffoo EEvvaalluuaattiioonn && iimmpprroovveemmeenntt RRiicchh,, mmeeaanniinnggffuull eexxppeerriieenncceess ffoorr uusseerrss
  44. 44. UUsseerrss PPoolliittiiccss FFuunnddiinngg CCuullttuurree Organisation’s MMiissssiioonn SSttaatteemmeenntt CCoolllleeccttiioonnss MMaannaaggeemmeenntt PPoolliiccyy CCaarree UUssee LLeeaarrnn DDeevveelloopp PPeeooppllee PPrroocceesssseess SSyysstteemmss IInnffoo EEvvaalluuaattiioonn && iimmpprroovveemmeenntt RRiicchh,, mmeeaanniinnggffuull eexxppeerriieenncceess ffoorr uusseerrss
  45. 45. Core elements of SPECTRUM • SPECTRUM helps museums review their work with their collections, celebrate good practice and identify opportunities to improve! • SPECTRUM Standard including translations/ localisations, SPECTRUM Digital Asset Management, the SPECTRUM Schema and the Archive of previous versions of SPECTRUM • SPECTRUM Labs, including new ideas and potential applications of the SPECTRUM Standard • SPECTRUM Resources which support the application of the standard • SPECTRUM Community which includes anyone who uses the standard nationally or internationally
  46. 46. STANDARD WORLDWIDE COMMUNITY (25,000) GUIDANCE COMPLIANCE (17) PDF/XML/PRINT + SCHEMA NEW IDEAS
  47. 47. Policies and practices in digitisation and online access
  48. 48. MISSION
  49. 49. MISSION POLICIES & PLANS
  50. 50. MISSION POLICIES & PLANS FACILITIES
  51. 51. MISSION POLICIES & PLANS COLLECTIONS FACILITIES
  52. 52. MISSION POLICIES & PLANS STAFF COLLECTIONS FACILITIES
  53. 53. MISSION POLICIES & PLANS STAFF SERVICES COLLECTIONS FACILITIES
  54. 54. MISSION POLICIES & PLANS STAFF SERVICES BUSINESS MODEL COLLECTIONS FACILITIES
  55. 55. MISSION POLICIES & PLANS STAFF SERVICES BUSINESS MODEL COMMUNICATIONS COLLECTIONS FACILITIES
  56. 56. MISSION POLICIES & PLANS STAFF SERVICES BUSINESS MODEL COMMUNICATIONS COLLECTIONS FACILITIES CULTURE
  57. 57. MISSION POLICIES & PLANS STAFF SERVICES BUSINESS MODEL COMMUNICATIONS COLLECTIONS FACILITIES CULTURE DIGITAL!
  58. 58. Digitisation Strategy • No national Digitisation Strategy in the UK • ‘Let 1000 flowers bloom’ – the arms-length principle • Developing common quality & technical standards • Moving from ‘digitise everything’ to ‘create value’ • Away from mass-digitisation towards content curation
  59. 59. Create Once, Publish Everywhere (COPE) • If the standards, systems, processes and structures of museum documentation are to meet the current and future needs of our audiences, we need approaches that are adaptable and scalable • Designing scalable information systems in museums means ‘no single-use information’ – information that can be discovered, re-used and adapted to different needs, channels or experiences • Instead of designing information around one specific use (collections management, documentation, mobile apps, websites, catalogues), we design information so that it can flow dynamically across different uses.
  60. 60. COPE in practice (From a presentation by Paul Rowe, CEO, Vernon Systems)
  61. 61. COPE in practice (From a presentation by Paul Rowe, CEO, Vernon Systems)
  62. 62. COPE in practice (From a presentation by Paul Rowe, CEO, Vernon Systems)
  63. 63. Sharing simple information (From a presentation by Paul Rowe, CEO, Vernon Systems) Title Description Media Web address Sewing bag and contents Sewing bag and contents; a mottled blue, felt bag with two short, plaited felt handles. Each side of the bag is decorated with applied felt flowers in pink and yellow. The bag is dated 1938. The bag contains many scraps of fabric; a plastic shoe horn; a matchbox; a baby's shoe and socks; http://nzgirlhistory.net/object/32498/
  64. 64. Sharing on social sites (From a presentation by Paul Rowe, CEO, Vernon Systems)
  65. 65. COPE is about structuring our knowledge so that it can be adapted dynamically to the needs of different users across different platforms and for different uses, now and in the future.
  66. 66. Institutional Policies
  67. 67. Institutional policies • Forward Plan • Collections Development • Conservation Plan • Fundraising Strategy • Audience Development • Education Policy • Performance metrics
  68. 68. The problem of measurement • Performance management and efficiency • “How do you measure the value of something 6000 years old by the number of people who looked at it last year?” • Can you create a definite link between investment in policies and practices and social/economic benefits?
  69. 69. Practical Guides • A Practical Guide to Collections Management • A Practical Guide to Documentation • Both available from Collections Trust as books and e-books • www.collectionstrust.org.uk/shop
  70. 70. Obrigado! www.collectionstrust.org.uk @NickPoole1 These slides online at http://www.slideshare.net/collectionstrust

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