There is currently no comprehensive dataset covering all of the UK’s museums. Without such a dataset, it is impossible to understand the emergence, evolution and wider impact of the UK museums sector, and to reliably inform local, regional and national policy making and funding. This absence of information has become particularly acute for the period since 1960 due to a rapid expansion in the number of new museums opening.
This lack of integrated, comprehensive information about the UK’s museums sector motivates the research of the “Mapping Museums” project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) 2016-2020. The project is an interdisciplinary one involving researchers from art history, museology, computer science, and geographic information science.
The research team has gathered, cleansed and codified data relating to some 4000 UK museums – almost double the number of museums covered in any previous study, and covering the whole period from 1960 to date. A major part of the project has involved capturing the evolving knowledge and system requirements of the project’s humanities researchers by means of iterative, participatory design of a new RDF/S Knowledge Base to store the data and metadata relating to the 4000 museums, as well as a Web Application that allows the researchers to browse, search and visualise the data in order to investigate their research questions.
Further information can be found on the Mapping Museums website