IoI Publications

Tuesday 1 January 2002 Museums for ‘The People’?

Josie Appleton's book asks if it Is the primary role of museums to look after their collections or to attract audiences? Should curators be concerned with research or entertainment? Who are 'The People' to whom museums must cater, and what do they really want?

AUTHOR: Josie Appleton

‘A new political agenda now dominates museum policy and has begun to create a new type of museum. The rallying cry of this new political agenda is that museums should find their rationale, not in their collections, but in ‘The People’. But ‘The People’ that museums are so anxious to follow is a pure projection hatched withink the establishment - for the service of establishment interests.’
Josie Appleton: Academy of Ideas

Appleton’s essay is published along with responses from

Robert Anderson: British Museum
Charles Saumarez Smith: National Portrait Gallery
Professor David Lowenthal: University College London
Timothy Mason: cultural consultant
David Barrie: National Art Collections Fund
Sue Millar: Greenwich University
François Matarasso: Comedia
Ian Walker: Horsham Museum
Richard Fortey: Natural History Museum
Maurice Davies: Museums Association

‘The real culprits are the politicians, who, having failed to grasp that museums are valuable in themselves have insisted that in return for state funding they must help deliver political goals like social inclusion or urban renewal.’
David Barrie
National Art Collections Fund

‘Museums have indeed ‘put perceived needs of people at the heart of their work’ and in doing so have placed themselves and their collections firmly in the 21st century.’
Timothy Mason
cultural consultant

‘I truly don’t know how much I love The People, but I do know that I very much want The People to love trilobites.’
Richard Fortey
Natural History Museum

PUBLISHER: Academy of Ideas Ltd.

£5 (Original out of print, photocopy available)

Call +44 (0) 20 7269 9220, or send a cheque made payable to Academy of Ideas Ltd to the address at the bottom of the screen.

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