A research project collecting data on the closures of UK museums has been awarded £1m from the Arts and Humanities Research Council to continue its work.

The Mapping Museum research project was first devised in response to the absence of coherent data on the expansion of museums in the UK.

It subsequently collected and collated data from over 4,000 museums to analyse how the sector changed between 1960 and 2020.

The Mapping Museums research team will use the new funding for its next project, ‘Museum Closure in the UK 2000-2025’.

The research project is based at Birkbeck, University of London and at King’s College London, and will run for two years, beginning in October 2023.

It will collect data on museum closures and the subsequent dispersal of collections around the UK.

The research team has published a series of blogs since its first project, deciphering the project’s data alongside other data sources.

In their latest post on the new project, the Mapping Museums team explained: “We will investigate the afterlife of collections, find out if museum exhibits are scrapped, sold, stored, or re-used, and examine ‘outreach’ and temporary museums.

“Above all, we aim at critically reassessing notions of permanence and loss within the museums sector.”

As with its previous research, the resulting data will be mapped, analysed and visualised.

The project is led by Fiona Candlin, Professor of Museology, who will be working with co-investigators, Dr Andrea Ballatore of King’s College London, a specialist in cultural data science, Alexandra Poulovassilis, Emeritus Professor in Computer Science, and Peter Wood, Professor in Computer Science. The post-doctoral researcher on the project is Dr Mark Liebenrood (museum history).

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