MGC Reveals Museum Trends in the UK
London, 18 January 2000 -- The Museums & Galleries Commission (MGC) has
published Museum Focus 2, the second publication in a series of annual
reports giving comprehensive details of standards and trends in museums
and galleries throughout the United Kingdom.
Timothy Mason, MGC Director, commented: "Museum Focus 2 gives a
fascinating insight into the work, structure and achievements of the
UK's museums. The report shows interesting comparative figures analysed
against Museums Focus 1 which was published last year using data from
1997 compared with information gathered in 1998 and published in Museum
Focus 2. The report highlights the diverse work and accomplishments
achieved by the UK's museums."
Museum Focus 2 shows the following trends between 1997 and 1998:
* The number of visits to museums dropped by four per cent.
* The number of permanent full-time staff fell by 116 posts, two
and a half per cent, to 12,590.
* The number of volunteers in museums increased by 20 per cent to
* The number of museums with a forward plan increased by 11 per
cent to 77 per cent.
* The number of museums with a disaster plan increased by 12 per
cent to 44 per cent.
* The number of museums with a disability policy increased by
eight per cent to 29 per cent.
* The number of museums with a marketing policy increased by ten
per cent to 29 per cent.
* There are an estimated 200 million objects in the UK's museums.
The Natural History Museum contains the largest number, 68 million.
* Forty-nine per cent of museums charge for admission to their
* Forty per cent of museums are open to the public for more than
40 hours per week in the summer.
* Sixty-two per cent of museums are open for 10-12 months of the
* Sixty-four per cent of museums offer education facilities or
* National and National Trust museums are the most likely to have
education or disability policies, the least likely are the independent
* Fifty-one per cent of museums offer facilities or services for
people with disabilities.
* Ninety-eight per cent of museums provide access to their stored
* Twelve per cent of museums use only off-site stores, whilst 53
per cent of museums use only on-site stores. Thirty-five per cent use a
combination of both.
* Eighty per cent of museums offer shops and toilets.
* Thirty-five per cent of museums offer a restaurant or café.
* The equivalent of over 12,500 permanent full-time staff work in
museums with approximately 25,000 volunteers. Fifteen per cent of the
respondent museums are run by volunteers, the majority of these, 85 per
cent, being independent museums.
* Many museums do not have specialist staff working on their
collections. The collection types most likely to have specialist staff
are social history, fine art, decorative/applied arts, archaeology and
biology/natural history. The collection types least likely to have
specialist staff are music and medicine.
* Twenty-one per cent of museums with in-house conservation
services are national museums.
* Ninety per cent of museum conservators work full-time.
* Over 90 per cent of museums contract out some conservation work.
* Seventy-three per cent of museums feel that their in-house
conservation provision is insufficient.
Museum Focus 2 is available from MGC Publications priced
£30.00 plus £1.25 p&p (UK), £2.50 (within EU) and £4.00 (overseas). If
Museums Focus 2 is bought, Museums Focus 1 can be purchased for the
discounted price of £10.00. Cheques should be made payable to the
Museums & Galleries Commission and orders should be sent to MGC
Publications, 16 Queen Anne's Gate, London, SW1H 9AA. Alternatively
email: [log in to unmask] or telephone on 020 7 233 4200.
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Notes to editors: For further information or to interview Timothy
Mason, please contact Emma Wright, Press Officer on 0171 233 4200.
Museum Focus 2 contains the results of the annual DOMUS 1998 survey.
DOMUS (Digest of Museum Statistics Database) was developed by the MGC in
the mid 1990s, to collect information and statistics on museums in the
UK. The DOMUS database holds information on all museums which are part
of the MGC's Registration Scheme.
The 1998 survey, which forms the basis of Museum Focus 2, was mailed to
1719 MGC Registered museums, (Armed Services museums; English Heritage;
Independent; Local Authority; National; National Trust and University
museums), 1389 (81 per cent) of which responded. It is estimated that
there are around 2500 museums in the UK, although not all of these are
eligible for MGC Registration. 1997-98 trends are based on a constant
sample of museums which responded fully in both years.
For Immediate Release
Contact: Emma Wright/Julie Taylor
Museums New Technology Adviser
MGC, 16 Queen Anne's Gate, London SW1H 9AA
email: [log in to unmask] tel: +44 (0)171 233 4200
Visit us on-line at www.museums.gov.uk