A Resource for the Wider Museums Sector

UNIVERSITY MUSEUMS INCREASINGLY ACT AS A RESOURCE for the wider museums sector as well as their own institutions. Financial cutbacks in recent years have eroded collections-based expertise in other types of museums, while many University Museums still retain subject specialists with teaching and research skills, many internationally recognised experts in their fields. Subject Specialist Networks and regional partnership schemes such as Arts Council England’s Major Partner Museums programme complement informal networks by which staff provide leadership and support for colleagues across the museum sector. Furthermore, museums provide a route by which the museum sector can access specialists and resources in the wider university, for example conservation and collections care staff in University Museums can draw on expertise in chemistry departments and access to cutting edge analytical equipment. More fundamentally, the university culture of experimentation and analysis empowers University Museums to act as test beds for the wider sector, experimenting with new practices and technologies and carrying out robust and reflective impact studies.

The provision of museology, conservation and heritage studies courses within University Museums brings the opportunity to integrate academic and experiential learning. Through the provision of volunteering and work experience opportunities, paid internships, project work and apprenticeships, University Museums make an important contribution to the development of the future museum workforce.

Outstanding collections-based research

UCL Grant Museum

UCL’s Grant Museum Share Academy programme

UCL’s Grant Museum acts as a test-bed for new technologies for visitor interaction. Academics from several UCL departments developed QRator, a ground-breaking interactive iPad label system. The success of the museum pilot led to QRator’s being cited internationally and to a subsequent funded collaboration with the Imperial War Museum. UCL is now partnering with University ... more »

Oxford ASPIRE Events Programme

The Oxford ASPIRE Events Programme, a series of knowledge-sharing workshops for museum and cultural professionals, is led by the ASPIRE team at Oxford University Museums as part of their Arts Council England-funded Major Partner Museum activity. Workshop themes include Fundraising and Philanthropy, Commercial Enterprise, Digital and Managing Museums. These have attracted delegates from across the ... more »
Museum of Design in Plastics, Arts University Bournemouth

Museum of Design in Plastics

The Museum of Design in Plastics (MoDiP) at the Arts University Bournemouth manages the Plastics Subject Specialist Network (SSN), which has 114 members representing 75 organisations, mainly other museums. Since the 1970s, plastics have become the most used material group in manufacturing and are thus an increasingly important material for our heritage. Working with Plastics ... more »