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National Museums: past, present and future
National Museums: past, present and future

Karen Brown, EULAC MUSEUMS Coordinator, has participated in this European  Conference as invited speaker, to present the Scottish “case-study”, either in relation to the National Museum and to the relationship between museums and communities. She also participated in a panel on the evaluation of Europeans funded projects for museums and cultural heritage. This panel was coordinated by Luís Raposo (President of ICOM Europe) and composed by: Chris Whitehead (Coordinator of CoHERE Project - Critical Heritages: performing and representing identities in Europe, and Professor at Newcastle University, UK), Daniele Jalla, (President of ICOM Italy), Dominique Poulot (Member of the CulturalBase European platform, and Professor at the Université de Paris 1, Panthéon-Sorbonne, France), Karen Brown (Coordinator of EU-LAC MUSEUMS Project and Head of the Museum, Galleries and Collections Institute, St. Andrews University, Scotland, UK), Monika Hagedorn-Saupe (Europeana Foundation Governing Board Member), Luca Basso Peressut (Coordinator of MELA Project - European Museums in an Age of Migration, and Professor at the Politecnico di Milano, Italy), Peter Aronsson (Coordinator of EUNAMUS Project - European National Museums, and Professor and Pro-rector of the Linnaeus University, Sweden)

From the final conclusions of the Conference (URL: a specific paragraph resulted from this panel:

(5) The important role of international public financed projects for culture and heritage, as the ones of the European Union and the Council of Europe, has been stressed and attentively evaluated with the participation of the coordinators of some of the most influential in recent years and other still in course or being initiated. Museums’ research, mainly university oriented, has developed enormously due the opportunities derived from this frame. Also museums, and National Museums in especial due to their larger capacity to accommodate wide nets of cooperation, took advantage from these projects, which are necessarily to be continued and enlarged, since culture and humanities still are significantly less funded than other social domains including the so-called “fundamental sciences”. However, concerns have been expressed relating the extent to which the important results deriving from European funded projects have been really absorbed by museums, benefiting their everyday life, upgrading their professional standards and ameliorating their social services. These worries were accentuated by the observed “depopulation” or “generation gap” processes undergoing in many museums, all across Europe, making it enormously difficult, if not impossible, for them to act as fully partners, in a mutual fruitful way. This dramatic evolution has to be corrected and closer attention shall be given in the future to the drafting of projects, so that their outcomes are to include as much as possible practical sound results, for museums and their publics.

Foundation Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon
Start date
End date
Annual Conference
ICOM Europe



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