Do museums have a future?

Whoever wins the next election, museums and galleries will continue to be under threat.  Is this simply explained by the political economics of austerity and the need for local councils to make financial savings? Or is there a profounder cultural reason that makes such cuts easy targets even against local opposition? Have people simply forgotten what museums are for? Museums, like universities celebrate and defend themselves because of their personal, social and economic ‘impact’.  How convincing are such instrumental arguments? Can we make a better case for museums?

Our speakers at the next Salon have radically different views on what museums are for. If you value our museums come along and help get the arguments we need to save them!

Speakers include:  

Pauline Hadaway

pauline1 Pauline has worked in arts and education since 1990 and was director of Belfast Exposed Photography between 2000 and 2013, overseeing its transformation from a small-scale, though politically significant, city-based project into an internationally renowned gallery of contemporary photography. She is currently undertaking doctoral research at the University of Manchester, examining the uses of art, heritage and culture in social and economic reconstruction and the promotion of social justice and peace-building in post-Good Friday Agreement Northern Ireland. 

Tony Butler

Tony1Tony is a social history curator at heart and has been Executive Director of Derby Museums Trust since January 2014. Derby Museums includes Derby Silk Mill, the site of the world’s first factory and a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Derby Museum and Art Gallery which contains the world’s finest collection of works by the 18th century artist Joseph Wright.

Prior to that, Tony was director of the Museum of East Anglian Life for nine years. He repositioned the organisation as a social enterprise and led a major capital development programme. In 2011 he founded the Happy Museum Project, to create a community of practice to explore how museums could contribute to a society in which well-being and environmental sustainability were its principle values. Happy Museum has supported 22 UK museums to develop projects which build mutual relationships with audiences and ‘steward the future as well as the past.’ He was the Fellow for Museums on the Clore Leadership Programme in 2007-08, a Director of Mission Models Money and is a Trustee of Kids in Museums.

Chair: Dr Ruth Mieschbuehler

Ruth Mieschbuehler

East Midlands Salon and Education Researcher, the University of Derby

Date and Time:  7 PM on Tuesday 28 April

Venue: The Hallmark Hotel, Midland Road, Derby, DE1 2SQ

Tickets: £5 (£3 Concessions) available from Eventbrite


Background Readings

Museums as agitators

Museums Association – Derby Museums Petition

Alexander Adams ‘The museums turning culture into a commodity’, spiked:

Wendy Earle ‘Museums stick to what you are good at’, spiked: