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What are museums for?

What is the role of museum?

The traditional role of both science and humanities museums has changed. Rather than focusing on preserving, studying and presenting their collections, museums may now be required to take on a variety of social functions - including social inclusion, lifelong learning and recognising group identities. Has taking on these tasks left the museum overburdened and confused about its role? Can and should museums make people feel better and affirm their identity? Are scholarship and the collection under threat? Museums' right to retain or interpret artifacts from non-western societies has also been challenged. Some argue for repatriation, or the involvement of indigenous groups in interpreting objects and designing exhibitions. Who owns culture? Is there a danger we close down understanding if only one selected group can speak about culture? What is the role of the curator, and who should decide what we collect in the future?

This conference will explore the new roles of the museum, examining their intellectual roots and consequences. It has been planned in consultation with Josie Appleton (spiked-online.com), Dr Gareth Griffiths (British Empire and Commonwealth Museum), Tiffany Jenkins (Institute of Ideas) and Raj Pal (Oak House Museum). See the Cumberland Lodge website. (http://www.cumberlandlodge.ac.uk)

Sessions include: Collect to connect - museums are getting better at connecting but have forgotten about collecting, Social Inclusion: is it destroying the collection? , A sense of place: museums and identity , What can museums teach us? , The universal museum, Who owns culture?, The role of the curator, What should we collect?

Speakers will include
JULIAN SPALDING author, 'The Poetic Museum and The Eclipse of Art'
TRISTRAM BESTERMAN director, Manchester Museum
MAURICE DAVIES deputy director, Museums Association
DR NICK MERRIMAN University College London
PROFESSOR RICHARD FORTEY Department of Palaeontology, Natural History Museum, London
DR KATHERINE HANN Head of Education and Interpretation, British Empire and Commonwealth Museum
DAVID BARRIE director of the National Art Collections Fund
JOHN MACKENZIE formerly Professor of Imperial History, University of Lancaster
PROFESSOR EILEAN HOOPER-GREENHILL Museum Studies, University of Leicester
TIFFANY JENKINS director of arts and society, Institute of Ideas
PETER JENKINSON national director, Creative Partnerships, Arts Council
DR GARETH GRIFFITHS director, British Empire and Commonwealth Museum
JENNI CALDER formerly National Museums of Scotland
GARRY MORRIS Merseyside Maritime Museum
DR ALAN BORG recently director, Victoria and Albert Museum


. Claire Fox | talks | www


Date and Time:

17 September 2004 at 9:00 am


Full Day



Cumberland Lodge
The Great Park
(01784) 432316

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Organised by:

Institute of Ideas
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Available from:

The conference fee includes accommodation and meals. Bursaries are available for those who would like to attend but who might have difficulty in meeting the full cost of the conference. Requests for bursaries should be make to the conference organiser, Sandra Willson, who can be contacted on 01784 497781 or sandra@cumberlandlodge.ac.uk
BOOKING: Contact Janis Reeves, Conference Administrator, Cumberland Lodge, The Great Park, Windsor SL4 2HP Fax: 01784 49 77 99 Janis@cumberlandlodge.ac.uk

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