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

Session: 2011/2012

Date: 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.

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