The role of Museum Lates in the night time economy

Three interesting new reports by Culture24 (UK) focus on the role and impact of Museum Lates on the night-time economy:

And here is the Executive Summary.

“The reports reveal the scale of after-hours museum and gallery openings and events in the UK; why venues do, and don’t, open after hours; what kinds of events they offer; where the hot and cold spots are in the UK and much more about the role Lates have in the context of night-time economy issues. The research also tackles how Lates can make a contribution to diversifying the night-time economy and helping UK towns and cities provide a more balanced evening cultural offer.” (Culture24)


Being free is not the same as being welcoming

One of the big misunderstandings in the museum world is that free = accessible.
In her article “The Met’s Admission Price Will Not Hurt Accessibility – It May Help” Colleen Dilenschneider shares visitor data that shows how little/no correlation there actually is between admission fees and accessibility.


It’s Time to Listen: Guggenheim Project shows the importance of lending an ear

An artist inspired Guggenheim project shows the power of (staff) listening (to visitors). More about the project and the process is summarised in this Guggenheim blog post and a video.

Building a culture of empathy

Museums have the wonderful potential to be catalysts for empathy.

How can we more fully integrate these values in our museum practice and begin to make the shift happen toward a more human-centered mindset? – discusses Mike Murawski (Director of Education and Public Programs at Portland Art Museum) in his blog post:

Towards a More Human-Centered Museum: Part 2, Building a Culture of Empathy

A review of museums in England – with interesting findings for museums in general

A review of the museums in England, the Mendoza report, was just released. The report makes interesting reading. Some structural findings and recommendations are particular to England, but several of the findings the about the state and priorities for museums are relevant beyond England and provide interesting context e.g. when considering NZ museums.

Most interesting to me are these two points:

  • The increasing evidence of the benefits of museums to society is acknowledged: community cohesion and place-making, formal and informal learning, health and well-being, the attractiveness of cities both for locals and visitors, and direct and indirect economic benefits. It is suggested that museums make more of this by measuring and reporting their impact more widely, ideally using a standard method. And while the Review is focused on national museums, it even includes suggestions for how local authorities, where funding pressures particularly high, can support and make the most of their museums.
  • Museum attendance levels have risen consistently, driven by free admission, a lively sector and high activity level of museums. However, free admission and close proximity of museums does not automatically translate into diverse audiences. Despite rising attendance, audience diversity is still an issue with the ‘usual suspects’ attending and lower attendance by younger people, people with lower socio-economic backgrounds or ethnic minorities. Diversifying audiences is imperative.

Other interesting points:

  • Data is important to understand audiences and museums invest more in audience research, but there is still a big potential for making more of data, e.g. through more consistency and the collation of data for deeper analysis.
  • Digital offers major opportunities for engaging current and new audiences as well as for museum management, however medium and smaller museums are still lagging behind other cultural institutions.
  • There are also number of workforce challenges laid out, in particular the need to diversify staff as a basis for diversifying audiences and developing leaders and leadership skills.
  • The potential for more international collaboration and partnerships is also highlighted.
  • Not surprisingly, financial self-sufficiency is the most pressing challenge for museums in today’s funding environment.

Museums responding to current topics: The Migration Museum

A wonderful example how museums can offer new perspectives and provide spaces for engaging with and questioning current debates: The Migration Museum in London has operated projects since 2013, it now has a semi-permanent space and just started coordinating the Migration Museum Network that aims to increase outputs related to migration themes in museums and galleries. In a time when migration is front page news almost daily, they ask „How do we as a sector effectively respond to this?“

Migration Museum



(c) Migration Museum

New report on the impact of AI, robotics and automation

A new report by the RSA looks at the potential impact of artificial intelligence and robotics on the workforce – it seems to be less than expected in terms of reducing jobs.

But while the question might be how fast the changes are coming, fact is that they are coming. It confirms for me that life-long learning and creativity are key tools to cope with these changes –  arts and culture have real potential to play a valuable role in this, it is not just about STEM subjects.

RSA report on AI, robotics and automation