I was asked by Apollo to write a short opinion piece on some of the issues facing national museums, alongside one by Bendor Grosvenor. We did not confer, and it turns out that we would both like to share the national collections more widely and spread the funding more evenly across the country as a whole, rather than concentrating it in the capital cities:-
5 thoughts on “The role of the national museums”
Brilliant from both you and Bendor Grosvenor. Thank you so much. Years ago I was told an hilarious story of the British Museum ethnographic collection lending several felt hats from the Middle East, costing just a dollar or so on site, to a Cumbrian public collection: with a courier and first class travel and stringent conditions, paid for by cash strapped provincial collection. It was a joy to be a trustee when Liverpool went national but a year or more not to mention £££s had to be spent on pension provision, from local authority to national. All the great city museums should be national. And local arts provision mandatory. And there are such new shining stars from Margate to Wakefield to add to the mix.
Yes, I totally agree about Margate and Wakefield, so there have been big winners as well as some losers over the last couple of decades. Charles
Marina is absolutely right – the articles by you and by Bendor are spot on, though even they could be rather more radical and suggested providing national funding for the Collections that Fred Hohler has identified in his Public Catalogue Foundation.
It’s what I would have tried to achieve if I’d remained longer as Arts Minister, and if I’d have had a Prime Minister who had a real feeling for the Arts, like John Smith, and what I hope that Ed Vaizey would have wanted if he too had remained longer in post.
Dear Mark, But wasn’t it proposed by you and Chris Smith when it was suggested that the funding of national museums should be administered by the Museums and Galleries Commission ? Charles
Yes, but in those days the MGC was a very different body with a real feel for National Museums.