Survey reveals lack of museum research

October 15, 1999

Research and scholarship in museums is under threat, with 80 per cent of museums reporting that they are not as active in research as they should be, according to a survey by the Museums and Galleries Commission. Jeremy Warren, assistant director of the MGC, said the finding was worrying, and added: "We are concerned at how much research now seems to be geared towards short-term projects such as exhibitions, the results of which are often not published or recorded." He said this was a result of the increased use of freelance researchers and long-term reductions in curatorial staff numbers, which made it much more difficult for curators to pass knowledge on. The survey covered 160 museums, including 17 university museums. Only 30 per cent of the museums had research and publications budgets; 60 per cent use volunteer researchers, including 69 per cent of national museums.

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