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 is a former museum professional and academic who has published widely on museum history, theory and practice. He is the Director of the Museum and heritage studies programme at Victoria University of Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand.
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