Managing Museums and Galleries

Managing Museums and Galleries

Managing Museums and Galleries

Managing Museums and Galleries


The current economic climate, coupled with an all embracing desire for museums to be respondent to 'the market' make a proper grounding in management essential. The 'bottom line' is one of the most powerful measures of management performance. Museums and galleries invariably have a neutral bottom line, they are not set up to make a profit and many of them are constrained by governmental accounting rules and charity legislation. Managing these organisations is difficult and this book tackles the issues that make it easier. Managing Museums and Galleries examines the highly sophisticated principles and techniques of modern business management from the perspective of museums and galleries and delineates their practical application. This volume surveys the day-to-day issues of time management, delegation and recruitment to the problems of strategic planning and initiating and controlling conflict and change. This study incorporates the needs of both the independent and national sectors and discusses the links between the museum and commerce.


My introduction to museums, and particularly their management, came later in life than for most other museum professionals. By the time I started my own career, I had already had 15 enjoyable years fulfilling a boyhood dream of riding horses for a living.

My decision to concentrate on the management aspects of museums was predicated by a mixture of influences. First, I experienced appalling management in my first career and this left a profound impression on me. I have yet to discover why perfectly normal human beings feel the need to act so poorly when they go to work. I cannot, to this day, understand why workers will accept comments or behaviour in a work scenario which would be totally unacceptable to them in their social life.

Second, I found that museums in general were better but by no means adequate in managing their affairs. I was, I suppose, a mediocre historian/researcher and saw an opening in an area which, in my opinion, was lacking. I therefore concentrated on management.

Third, I had tremendous support from a small number of people who had confidence in my ability to research this new area of museum work. Undoubtedly my original mentor was Dr John Tanner, the founding Director of the Royal Air Force Museum at Hendon. It was he who took me to one side some years ago and suggested that I take an academic route which has resulted in this book. I shall always be grateful to him for his faith in me and I am proud at having both justified that faith and succeeded the post he occupied so successfully for twenty or more years. I am also indebted to Professor John Pick and Dr Eric Moody of the City University, London. Both John and Eric knew me only as an ambitious young man with a mission to succeed. They gave me the opportunity to prove myself academically and I am conscious that in so doing they took some risk. I hope I have repaid them after passing on the results of my studies in this book and in teaching their students for almost a decade.

No one has supported me more than my family. My wife, Rosemary and son, Christopher, have had to bear the financial and physical disruption of years

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