We believe that great museums need good curators and that delivering public benefit is about effective integration of community engagement and expertise in the objects which represent that community’s heritage.
Good curators understand their collections and use this knowledge to improve the impact, value and sustainability of all of the outward-facing functions of the museum. We are inspired by the vision of museums as open, participatory places.
The Campaign for Good Curatorship is an initiative to promote the crucial role of curators and curatorship in making museums and their collections useful, relevant and sustainable for the public benefit.
Our aim is to promote a positive message about this crucial role of curators and curatorship.
A good curator is…
- A specialist who is knowledgeable about the collections and their context to the communities they serve.
- Able to recognise the value of their collection and ensure it continues to develop to remain relevant
- Able to make their knowledge freely available to support the work of their colleagues and the wider functions of the museum, particularly with regards to ensuring sustainable use of collections and that this knowledge is continued in perpetuity
- Accountable, open and honest and committed to diversity and inclusivity.
- Ensure the collections are relevant to the communities they serve;
- Produce more effective exhibitions & outreach that enhance the visitor’s understanding of their heritage (not just divert their attention);
- Provide more efficient collections management which promotes relevance, sustainability and audience value;
- Deliver on the public expectation that the museum will ensure that objects of cultural significance can be enjoyed by all, both now and for generations to come.
What do we want?
- Museums and museum professionals to show their support for this campaign by signing up to this manifesto
- Arts Council England to promote curatorship as a tool for supporting engagement in the Museums Accreditation Scheme
- The Museums Association to acknowledge the role of curatorship in future versions of the Code of Ethics for Museums and other advocacy documents
- We call on the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) to support research into the public benefit of curatorship
- We call on organisations providing Museum Studies courses to teach more effectively the importance of curatorial knowledge in all aspects of museum work