Former British Museum and National Gallery director Neil MacGregor is to visit museums across the UK as host of a new series for BBC Radio 4 which will explore the challenges faced by directors and curators.

In ‘The Museums That Make Us’, MacGregor will explore the role that museums play in communities, and their response to the evolving social and cultural landscapes.

Radio 4 described the show as an opportunity to “try to understand the purpose of these cherished institutions in 2022 and the challenges their directors and curators face.”

In each of the twenty 15 minute episodes MacGregor will visit a museum and invite its curator to choose an item from their collection which explains the museum’s role and relationship to its local audience.

Museums to be explored include the national museums of Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland, as well locations in Birmingham, Leeds, and Liverpool.

Richard Knight, Commissioner for Radio 4, said museums “find themselves on the frontline of contemporary debates about our past.”
“As well as guiding us towards some extraordinary collections, right across the UK, this is a chance for Neil to help us think more deeply about the role of these important and valuable places in curating our shared history.”

MacGregor said “what’s going on in our museums today is at once challenging and exciting, and it can only really be understood by visiting as many as possible and finding out how they have approached what is a vital role in providing a sense of local, regional and national identity.”

The show will be broadcast weekdays at 1.45pm on Radio 4 from Monday 7 March, and be available as a podcast on BBC Sounds.

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