During the last few weeks, I’ve been privileged to speak at two really fascinating conferences, one the Group for Education in Museums was in Norfolk, the other hosted by Museums and Galleries Scotland in Edinburgh. Both looked to challenge museums to think hard about the characteristics of a resilient organisation, and the behaviours required by museum people to ensure their organisations were relevant and sustainable.
I was asked to speak about what influenced the Museum of East Anglian Life’s decision to consider itself a social enterprise and how it addressed the competing or complimentary demands (depending on your viewpoint) of being a museum. I was also indulged and able to talk about MEAL’s side project, The Happy Museum, which advocates that all museums should aim to be high-well being, sustainable organisations. I galloped through my influences, including Sue Clifford from Common Ground; George Ewart Evans, the historian; EF Schumacher and Richard Layard, the economists and Edgar Cahn, lawyer and social activist.