Volunteer-run Museums in English Market Towns and Villages

Yates, Bridget E (2010) Volunteer-run Museums in English Market Towns and Villages. PhD thesis, University of Gloucestershire.

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Abstract

Volunteer-run museums in English market towns and villages have been largely over-looked by scholars examining the history and development of museums in England, and work on contemporary museum volunteering or the relations of museums to their communities have not distinguished between volunteer-run and volunteer-involving museums. This thesis attempts to redress the balance by examining a number of volunteer-run museums in Dorset and the characteristics and motivations of the volunteers involved in their development. This element of the project included a survey of museum volunteers in the county and studies of a selected group of museums through interviews and through archival research in museum records. The thesis also presents a historical analysis, through a number of case histories, of the development of volunteer-run museums in English market towns and villages from 1884, demonstrating clearly how the development of these small museums reflects larger changes in the rural community from the paternalism of the late nineteenth century, through growing independence and democracy after 1918, to the counterurbanisation of the second half of the twentieth century. Changing perceptions of rural identity are also apparent in the history of these museums. The second element of the project was largely undertaken in the archives of selected institutions founded at different periods, an unexplored source of extraordinary richness. Contextual discussions include an account of three unsuccessful attempts to set up an English folk museum, the importance of the growing interest in local history at a popular level, and the impact of the Festival of Britain in focussing attention on the history of towns as enshrining civic pride and liberties. Taken together, these two elements have enabled a clearer picture to emerge of the importance of volunteer-run museums to their communities, to the participants themselves and to the wider museums community.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Advisors:
Thesis AdvisorEmailURL
Derounian, Jamesjderounian@glos.ac.ukUNSPECIFIED
Charlesworth, AndrewUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Uncontrolled Keywords: Volunteer-run Museums, England
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D204 Modern History
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Liberal and Performance Arts > Religious, Philosophical and Historical Studies
Depositing User: Susan Turner
Date Deposited: 27 Jul 2015 09:55
Last Modified: 11 Mar 2017 10:01
URI: http://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/2496

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