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The role of the university museum in community development

Author(s): David Ellis

Journal: University Museums and Collections Journal
ISSN 2071-7229

Volume: 2;
Start page: 81;
Date: 2009;
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Keywords: museums | University of Sydney | cultural precinct

The development of universities as participants in the cultural life of a city is a new and welcome development that in many cases has been led by the university’s museums. This paper discusses the resulting change in the perception of university museums, both within the institution and among the broader community, and argues that university museums have a unique potential to be cultural players and leaders within their university and community. With direct call on experts across a diverse range of subject areas they have an ability to provide an extraordinary range of public programs from performances, concerts, and artist interventions to more traditional lectures and forums. The benefits can be enticing. For some museums that have gone down this path and strategically aligned themselves with their university’s goals, these developments have lead to an increased visibility (internal and external) and funding (including new buildings and increased staffing numbers). Case study: The University of Sydney’s Museums and their role in developing and defining the university as a cultural precinct.
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