Managing performance in publicly funded museums in England: effects, resistances and revisions

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12 Citations (Scopus)


Based on accounts gathered from nine museums and four professional/policymaking bodies, as well as policy analysis, this article maps out and assesses the effects of and ways of experiencing the new managerialist mode of governance within the publicly funded museums in England, focusing specifically on performance management in museums. It will be argued that the performance management regime has impacted local authority museums and national museums in distinct ways, creating different professional/organisational cultures as a result. These impacts pertain specifically to the professional and organisational autonomy of museums, with significant differences between small local authority museums and large national museums. This has serious implications for the way different types of museum relate to new managerialism and their mode of functioning. Some of the negative and unintended impacts of the performance management regime have induced a reappraisal – initially championed by the art world – and a move towards lightening up the new managerialist overload and pressure by introducing some elements of a peer-review model and accommodating in some form the qualitative singularity of museum experience. I will conclude by reflecting on the underpinning assumptions of new managerialism in museums against the backdrop of the project of museum professionalism and the singularity of its creative work.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbern/a
Pages (from-to)n/a
Number of pages24
JournalInternational Journal of Heritage Studies
Issue numbern/a
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2012


  • museums; new managerialism; performance management; professionalism; art


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