BiRD - Birkbeck Research Data

    Mapping Museums Data, September 2021

    Cite as: Poulovassilis, Alexandra and Candlin, Fiona and Ballatore, Andrea and Katerinchuk, Valeri and Larkin, Jamie and Larson, Nick and Liebenrood, Mark (2021): Mapping Museums Data, September 2021. Birkbeck College, University of London. doi: https://doi.org/10.18743/DATA.00171

    Description

    These files contain the data, metadata and schema diagrams of the database produced by the AHRC-funded Mapping Museums project, 2016-2021, as of the end of the funded project on 30th September 2021. The data relates to UK museums that were open between 1960 and 2020.

    Collection Method

    Please refer to https://museweb.dcs.bbk.ac.uk/sources for a detailed list of the primary sources of data.

    In order to develop the Mapping Museums database, we needed to compile a dataset of all UK museums that had been open at any point between 1960 and 2020, and to list their main attributes: accreditation status, location (both postal address and administrative location), governance, size, subject matter, year of opening and year of closing (if applicable). We drew on a wide range of sources to do so:

    In the first instance, we focused on the Digest of Museum Statistics (DOMUS), a major survey of accredited museums that was conducted between 1994 and 1999. The archived survey consists of hundreds of encoded spreadsheets that all contain information about the museums in question, but addresses are on one sheet, the names of the museum on another, visitor numbers on a third and so on. In addition, all the information is in code. We translated the numerical codes into words and reassembled the DOMUS data from its constituent parts. We then removed entities that did not refer to a single museum (e.g. references to overarching bodies such as the Science Museum Group), dummy entries, and redundant information such as fax numbers and company numbers.

    Having manually reassembled and cleaned the DOMUS data, we then began to add data from the other contemporary and historical datasets. In the first instance we used data from official government surveys, such as the 1963 Standing Commission Survey of Provincial Museums, and the current ACE accreditation data, and then we began to add membership data from the Association of Independent Museums and the Museum Association. Thereafter we used a range of sources, adding information from historic and specialist guidebooks and gazetteers, from tourist boards, and from web searches. Digital resources such as the BBC’s 1986 Domesday project, were useful and the discovery of an unpublished survey of members and non-members conducted by the Association of Independent Museums in 1983 was particularly important in developing a substantial body of information on small independent museums of that period.

    As we collected new data, we added new museums to the dataset and also new information on the museums we had already included. In many instances, it was extremely difficult to find detailed information about specific museums. We might know that a museum had been open at some point in the 1980s but not know exactly when it opened or closed, or what subject it had covered. Appeals for information were repeatedly put out on social media but personal contact proved the most effective means of finding missing information. In the last few months of the data collection, the team made hundreds of telephone calls and sent hundreds of emails to museum staff, local history societies, tourist boards, town clerks, and other relevant organisations to find and establish the missing details. We continue to update the Mapping Museums database with new information, as it becomes known.

    Data Objects

    Offline / Analogue Data Records

    There are no offline / analogue datasets associated with this record

    External Data Records

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    Documentation

    Additional Metadata

    Data

    Metadata

    Dataset Title:

    Mapping Museums Data, September 2021

    Creators:

    Poulovassilis, Alexandra and Candlin, Fiona and Ballatore, Andrea and Katerinchuk, Valeri and Larkin, Jamie and Larson, Nick and Liebenrood, Mark

    School/Department:

    Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Arts > History of Art
    Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Business, Economics & Informatics > Computer Science and Information Systems

    Keywords:

    UK museums, Mapping museums

    Data collection method:

    Please refer to https://museweb.dcs.bbk.ac.uk/sources for a detailed list of the primary sources of data.

    In order to develop the Mapping Museums database, we needed to compile a dataset of all UK museums that had been open at any point between 1960 and 2020, and to list their main attributes: accreditation status, location (both postal address and administrative location), governance, size, subject matter, year of opening and year of closing (if applicable). We drew on a wide range of sources to do so:

    In the first instance, we focused on the Digest of Museum Statistics (DOMUS), a major survey of accredited museums that was conducted between 1994 and 1999. The archived survey consists of hundreds of encoded spreadsheets that all contain information about the museums in question, but addresses are on one sheet, the names of the museum on another, visitor numbers on a third and so on. In addition, all the information is in code. We translated the numerical codes into words and reassembled the DOMUS data from its constituent parts. We then removed entities that did not refer to a single museum (e.g. references to overarching bodies such as the Science Museum Group), dummy entries, and redundant information such as fax numbers and company numbers.

    Having manually reassembled and cleaned the DOMUS data, we then began to add data from the other contemporary and historical datasets. In the first instance we used data from official government surveys, such as the 1963 Standing Commission Survey of Provincial Museums, and the current ACE accreditation data, and then we began to add membership data from the Association of Independent Museums and the Museum Association. Thereafter we used a range of sources, adding information from historic and specialist guidebooks and gazetteers, from tourist boards, and from web searches. Digital resources such as the BBC’s 1986 Domesday project, were useful and the discovery of an unpublished survey of members and non-members conducted by the Association of Independent Museums in 1983 was particularly important in developing a substantial body of information on small independent museums of that period.

    As we collected new data, we added new museums to the dataset and also new information on the museums we had already included. In many instances, it was extremely difficult to find detailed information about specific museums. We might know that a museum had been open at some point in the 1980s but not know exactly when it opened or closed, or what subject it had covered. Appeals for information were repeatedly put out on social media but personal contact proved the most effective means of finding missing information. In the last few months of the data collection, the team made hundreds of telephone calls and sent hundreds of emails to museum staff, local history societies, tourist boards, town clerks, and other relevant organisations to find and establish the missing details. We continue to update the Mapping Museums database with new information, as it becomes known.

    Collection period:

    FromTo
    1 October 201630 September 2021

    Temporal coverage:

    FromTo
    1 January 196030 September 2021

    Statement on legal, ethical, and access issues:

    Not applicable

    Export / Share Citation

    Cite as: Poulovassilis, Alexandra and Candlin, Fiona and Ballatore, Andrea and Katerinchuk, Valeri and Larkin, Jamie and Larson, Nick and Liebenrood, Mark (2021): Mapping Museums Data, September 2021. Birkbeck College, University of London. doi: https://doi.org/10.18743/DATA.00171

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