University Museums play key role in nation’s cultural life, says Culture Minister
Release Date 23 September 2016
Culture minister Matt Hancock commended the university museums sector for their work in helping to make culture more accessible during a keynote speech for the University Museums Group Conference held on campus.
The Minister of State for Digital and Culture, The Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP gave a speech to a conference of curators and university museum staff held at the University of Reading. He highlighted the important work that the institutions make in serving local communities, and providing ‘inspirational’ facilities for more than 200,000 school children who visit each year.
Matt Hancock, Minister of State for Digital and Culture, said:
“Our museums are vital to our national heritage and make an invaluable contribution to the nation’s rich cultural life and this is something that everybody in the museums world should be extremely proud of.
“I look forward to continuing to work closely with our museums, championing the excellent work that they do. We launched a Museums Review earlier this month - to look at how best we can support UK museums to seize opportunities and thrive now and in the future.”
The conference has been held at the University of Reading, which houses the Museum for English Rural Life (MERL) which receives annual funding from HEFCE, and will be re-opening in October 2016 after a major renovation.
I look forward to continuing to work closely with our museums, championing the excellent work that they do
Matt Hancock MP
Kate Arnold-Forster, the head of university museums and collections at the University of Reading and co-chair of the UMG said:
“This year is so important for university museums in England. A review of HEFCE funding that supports higher education museums, galleries and collections has ended a period of uncertainty for university museums. It is critical that we continue to demonstrate the contribution that the sector makes to wider research and scholarship and public engagement with the arts, culture and the sciences.
“The minister’s words are particularly welcome, particularly about the value of building and working in partnership, as this conference has explored.”
The University of Reading has a number of other museums and special collections including:
· Ure Museum of Greek Archaeology;
· Cole Museum of Zoology; and
· Beckett Collection, the world’s largest collection of materials from Samuel Beckett;
For more information about the Museum of English Rural Life at the University of Reading, visit:
Read Matt Hancock's full speech to the UMG conference here.