Local authorities and museum provision in rural Scotland : a case-study approach
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This research examines the differing roles that the local authorities play in museum provision in Scotland. District Councils are legally responsible for ensuring "adequate provision" of cultural facilities in their areas, which is widely accepted as including museums, and a variety of methods for achieving this are in use. Three areas, each using a different approach, are examined; Perth and Kinross District runs a centralised system, Roxburgh has several museums scattered across the District, and Ross and Cromarty gives grant-aid to independently constituted museums within its boundaries but operates no museum itself. The research examines the practical workings of each of these systems, looking at the individual museums and at the relationships between them within each District. Particular themes, such as the impact of the Museums and Galleries Commission's registration scheme or the role of each museum in its local community, are discussed. A chapter on the proposed restructuring of local government in Scotland, and the impact of this on museums, is included. A phenomenological approach to the work was adopted, allowing themes and hypotheses to emerge from the information collected, rather than collecting material to support a particular theory. The research was carried out mainly through fieldwork. Each museum in the District Council areas was sent a questionnaire and this was followed by visits to many of the museums, in which staff were interviewed to ascertain the effectiveness of each style of provision. These results were then analysed and various similarities began to emerge. Each District is discussed separately in detail, and the concluding chapter brings together common strands from all three areas before proffering some suggestions on the future for museums in rural areas. Assessment of the success and adequacy of district council provision of museums facilities is discussed, as is the possible situation after local government reorganisation in Scotland.
Thesis, MPhil Master of Philosophy
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