Can museums be a potent force in social and urban regeneration?

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation are asking the question and I thought it might be something that interests the Friends of the Livesey Museum, and possibly others too.

The paper argues that museums are playing a part in social change, tackling a range of social issues, such as crime prevention, but that the challenge is now:

convincing other agencies of museums’ role in tackling social change; reflecting the speed of social change, which may require adapting complex organisational structures; acknowledging concerns about traditional curatorial remits; exploring legitimate areas that some still feel too sensitive for social history; addressing the physical accessibility of older museums.

I think there may still be more questions than answers around the impact of museums in regeneration, but isn’t it good that the questions are being asked.


About Andrew Brown

I live in Lewisham, South East London, and spent 9 years as a Labour councillor in the borough between 1997 and 2006.
This entry was posted in Civic Society, South East London and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Can museums be a potent force in social and urban regeneration?

  1. New Dorado says:

    Check out what the New york Botanical Garden, which calls itself a “museum of plants,” has done in the Bronx. Its Bronx Green-Up program is just one example. Its Web site is and it even has an institutional blog.

  2. rp says:

    I think its utterly, utterly vital that museums, and galleries, play a vital role in regeneration, and they go some way to doing that. We have on our doorsteps the Tate Modern and all the rest of the regeneration that it drags along behind it, but why on earth is there nothing of any cultural note in the planned ‘regeneration’ of central Lewisham? (I don’t count a multiplex cinema, if that happens, as part of ‘culture’)

    If there is a place that can inform and educate on, amongst many other things gripping our culture at the moment, immigration, racism, history, etc etc, and make a true mark on the residents of the area, then a museum should be at the forefront of thinking. People don’t need more shops, more food outlets, but they need to be able to clearly see where each and every one of us has and can make a mark on the society in which we all live.

    We have got things nearby of course, but there’s still room for more, and not token gestures either (like the comical and farcical situation at the Tea factory in Brockley).

  3. ross says:

    the increasing commodification of knowledge/culture/intellectual activity will no doubt seeing them play a greater role in regeneration in the future than they have done previously

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