Press Release

Committee Calls on Executive to Acknowledge Importance of Museum and Heritage Sector

Session: 2011/2012

Date: Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Reference: CAL 10/10/11

Recognising that Museums contribute over £16m to the economy, a Review, launched today by the Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure, calls on the Executive to establish a more consistent approach to measuring the economic and social value of museums.

The full potential of the museum and heritage sector is underestimated due to a lack of robust data and ongoing data collection across the museum sector in Northern Ireland.

The Committee’s Review into the impact and value of Museums, which contains 16 recommendations, outlines the contribution that the sector makes to the economy of Northern Ireland through employment, cultural tourism, education and life-long learning.

Committee Chairperson Barry McElduff MLA, said, “This Review shows very clearly that while this region is blessed with a great variety of museums, there is a strong case that the sector needs to carry out more research on the impact and value of museums. To date there has been some good research commissioned but a consistent methodology has not been used, making it difficult to measure the economic, social and cultural impact of museums.

“This region lags behind others in this area of research and we are recommending that the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL), which overseas museums here, urgently issues guidance regarding a more frequent evaluation framework.”

The Committee Review also points to the need for a volunteering policy and urges DCAL to provide sufficient resources to measure the untapped economic potential of volunteering which would support the development of a much needed policy in this area.

Notes to Editors:
The Members of the Committee launched the review on Wednesday 23 March 2011, when they debated it in Plenary. It is envisaged that the new incoming Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure, following the Election in May 2011, will provide a response to each of the Committee recommendations in due course.

Committee Membership:

The Chairperson of the Committee is Mr. Barry McElduff MLA. 
The Deputy Chairperson is Mr. Declan O’Loan MLA

The Committee has a further nine members:

Mr Thomas Burns MLA 
The Lord Browne MLA 
Mr David Hilditch MLA 
Mr William Humphrey MLA 
Mr Billy Leonard MLA 
Mr Kieran McCarthy MLA 
Mr David McClarty MLA 
Mr Pat Sheehan MLA 
Mr Ken Robinson MLA

The Clerk to the Committee is Lucia Wilson
Committee Office 
Northern Ireland Assembly 
Room 344 Parliament Buildings 
Stormont Estate, Ballymiscaw
Belfast BT4 3XX
Telephone: 028 90 521620 
Fax: 028 90 521355 
E Mail:

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