Mapping the museum sector 6 Feb 2020

Mapping Museums, a four year research project, supported by AHRC and led by the University of Birkbeck, is about to publish a major new data, focused on independent museums. In the late 20th century, there was a huge growth in this part of the sector, with independents differing  so much from public museums they were judged to have revolutionised the field. However, little systematic information was collected about when they opened, subjects covered or if they survived. The Mapping Museums project will publish longitudinal information covering the period 1960 – 2020, with four outputs:

  • A database of information covering around 4,000 museums, which will be free to use under the terms of the Creative Commons (BY) licence.
  • ‘Mapping Museums: a report on the data’ – a publication aimed at organisations with responsibility for UK museums. It covers topics including openings and closure, subject matter, accreditation status, size and location.
  • A website, which as well as housing the database, will give a variety of back up information, including research methods, interviews, films and podcasts.
  • A monograph will also be published in 2021 drawing on the data, historical research and interviews with museum founders to explore why so many museums were founded in the late 20th

The database and website will be live at from 17th March. There will also be a panel discussion and launch at London Transport Museum, also on 17th March from 6.30pm. Speakers include Maggie Appleton, CEO of the RAF museum and President of the MA and Andrew Lovett, AIM’s Vice Chair. Tickets are free, but it is necessary to book. Mapping Museums (event booking), University of Birkbeck (blogs and background to project)