The UK’s ageing population: challenges and opportunities for museums and galleries

This important new report explores “[…] the impact of demographic ageing on the museum and gallery sector.” [p7]

“Museums are constantly being asked to do more with less, but this report indicates that there can be a double dividend – where museums and older people enrich each other and their local communities.

This report’s impressive raft of case studies illustrate the way a range of museums have reflected on their practice and adapted their work to ensure older people find value and relevance in their interactions with them. These museums are considering the opportunities an ageing population brings, rather than simply working out how ‘business as usual’ will be sustained as the population ages.” [p6]

It begins by setting the context, in terms of ageing; health and wellbeing; background policy; and diversity (and is illustrated with useful case studies throughout).

The report then goes on to look at the changing museums and galleries sector, in terms of changing priorities (moving beyond education and preservation, for example); changing levels of resources; the impact of digital technology; and the changing relationship between museums and galleries and their visitors (with older people as contributors, as well as recipients and beneficiaries of museums’ collections).

Kate A Hamblin and Sarah Harper. The UK’s ageing population: challenges and opportunities for museums and galleries. British Museum/ Oxford Institute of Population Ageing, 2016.

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