Museums and the 'new museology': Theory, practice and organisational change



McCall V & Gray C (2014) Museums and the 'new museology': Theory, practice and organisational change. Museum Management and Curatorship, 29 (1), pp. 19-35.

The widening of roles and expectations within cultural policy discourses has been a challenge to museum workers throughout Great Britain (GB). There has been an expectation that museums are changing from an ‘old' to a ‘new museology' that has shaped museum functions and roles. This paper outlines the limitations of this perceived transition as museum services confront multiple exogenous and endogenous expectations, opportunities, pressures and threats. Findings from 23 publically-funded museum services across England, Scotland and Wales are presented to explore the roles of professional and hierarchical differentiation, and how there were organisational and managerial limitations to the practical application of the ‘new museology'. The ambiguity surrounding policy, roles and practice also highlighted that museum workers were key agents in interpreting, using and understanding wide-ranging policy expectations. The practical implementation of the ‘new museology' is linked to the values held by museum workers themselves and how they relate it to their activities at the ground level.

Museum services; management, cultural policy; ‘new museology’; museum workers; implementation

Museum Management and Curatorship: Volume 29, Issue 1

Publication date31/12/2014
Publication date online24/12/2013
Date accepted by journal21/06/2013
PublisherTaylor and Francis

People (1)


Professor Vikki McCall
Professor Vikki McCall

Professor of Social Policy, Housing Studies