Chap 5: ‘Museum Measurement: Questions of Value’ by Carol A. Scott

In this blog I am featuring my new book Museum Practice: The contemporary museum at work. A crucial part of debates about what a museum does and why, which is allied to both policy and ethics, is the underlying framework of value and measurement which determines how the work of museums is measured. In the chapter titled ‘Questions of value’ Carol Scott reviews the “debates that have ensued over the last two and half decades… around these main points of ‘whose values’ and ‘which values’ should provide the basis for assessing the worth of culture, determining policy and allocating resources”. Although the field of cultural measurement has progressed, with more consultative and transparent approaches in evidence, yet economic valuation still tends to dominate cultural, social or intrinsic values. In a similar vein to Selwood and Davies, she argues that museums have to articulate a viable alternative and make a stronger case for the value of museums.

Australia 022Carol A. Scott has had extensive experience as a museum professional, scholar and consultant ( She lives in London and has worked with museum leaders in the UK, Europe, North America and Australasia on issues such as planning, branding, audience engagement, measurement and funding. Carol has become widely known for her work on museum value, and has published extensively in this area in the journals Curator, Museum Management and Curatorship, Cultural Trends and the International Journal of Arts Management. In 2013 she published a major book on the topic titled Museums and public value (Ashgate):


About mccartco

Conal McCarthy has published widely on the historical and contemporary Māori engagement with museums, including the books Exhibiting Māori: A history of colonial cultures of display (2007) and Museums and Māori: Heritage professionals, indigenous collections, current practice (2011). His new book is Museum practice (2015) in the series International Handbooks of Museum Studies. This edited collection includes chapters on many aspects of current professional work from audience, leadership and policy to collections, exhibitions and conservation. His next book co-authored with Bronwyn Labrum of Massey University will explore history of/in museums.
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