Well it’s not the launch we’d hoped for. We were supposed to mark the event with a panel discussion and wine reception at London Transport Museum, and for weeks I’ve been looking forwards to hearing what the speakers had to say about our report. I’ve been borderline worried about the possibility that we might have overlooked something important or that there would be an error in the database that had hitherto gone unnoticed, and I’ve imagined us all afterwards, happily drinking wine at the reception, toasting each other for our success. We had 120 delegates booked in, coming from all kinds of interesting places, and a long waiting list. I’d even bought a new outfit. Sigh. It is disappointing but given the current spread of Covid-19, it was better to err on the side of caution and to postpone the event.
On the up side, we have decided to go ahead and publish. So, if you have had to self-isolate and need some alternatives to Netflix, then there is a cornucopia of museum information just waiting for you.
The website has links to podcasts and lectures, to a series of academic articles, and to transcripts of dozens of interviews with the founders of museums. It’s got sections on how we collected the data and built the database, on our definitions of museums and our new subject classification system. Above all, there is the database: information on 4,200 museums that have been open at some point between 1960 and 2020. If you’ve always wanted to know where to find museums of food and drink, or how many railway museums there are in the UK, then the answer is now at your fingertips.
We have also published ‘Mapping Museums 1960-2020: a report on the data’, which provides a summary of the research and of our methods, and a guide to the findings from the data. This is where you’ll find information on the numbers of museums that have opened in the UK over the last six decades, when they opened, the subjects they covered, their governance, where they were, and if they closed. The report can be accessed through the Publications page.
I do hope that you will enjoy the website, and find the report and database useful. If you have any feedback on the project, and especially on how you’re using the information, then do please let us know.
Image: First Flight of Space Shuttle Endeavour Launches — May 7, 1992, by NASA under Creative Commons licence