What to do about the UK museum cuts?

The UK government is flat broke, so the axe is out and the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure is a huge sitting duck.

Museums live on the ragged edge already. As Wikimedians, we need to do what we can to mitigate the disaster coming their way.

First thing off the top of my head: get our GLAM contacts in order and ask them:

“We can’t do political lobbying. But what can we do to help?”

It’s reasonably clear that this is an ambit claim to see who kicks up a fuss — the BBC discovered people love 6 Music, and that their desired Asian Network demographic preferred 6 Music.

It strikes me as feasible that a fuss in the general name of the arts is reasonably within WMUK’s charitable objectives and won’t violate anyone’s expectations of neutrality. It’ll also be powerful signaling that Wikimedia are one of the few native Internet groups to actively work for the preservation of culture. (Much as, as Geni has noted, we’re the only web 2.0 site to give a hoot about copyright.)

It will be worth remaining cognisant, of course, of the Iron Law of Institutions: we care about the collections themselves, the museum boards care about their power over the money per se and secondarily about what it’s spent on.

But the first step remains: offer them our help and ask what we, as huge fans of museums and what they do, can do to help.

What would you suggest as an effective course of action?

(See also discussion on wikimediauk-l.)

One thought on “What to do about the UK museum cuts?”

  1. Museums have collections of visible objects. One way of celebrating the cooperation with GLAMs is by using them as illustrations, one of the ways of celebrating their role in society is by constantly referring to their role in ensuring that the current and future generations will be able to learn from the past, a past that is conserved in the collections of archives and museums.

    You start with illustrating a blog post like this one.

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