Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology

2014 Edition
| Editors: Claire Smith

United Kingdom: Archaeological Museums

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-0465-2_1261


Museums containing archaeological material in the United Kingdom are many and varied. They constitute the principal means by which people can gain direct experience of the past, and in terms of global footfall, they continue to rival football matches as a favorite venue for leisure activity. However, some museums are significantly more successful than others in attracting visitors, with figures for 2012 showing that the British Museum remains far away the most popular visitor attraction in the UK, with over 5.57 million visitors. Many of the smaller museums would count themselves fortunate to attract 10,000 visitors a year.

While there are many fine examples of UK archaeological museums that have been refurbished, or relocated to new premises, in the last decade as a result of funding by central or local Government and/or the Heritage Lottery Fund (e.g., Shetland Museum, Lerwick), many archaeological museums in the UK face serious problems, principally relating to shortage...

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  1. Steel, P. 2012. Closures hit museums across UK. Museums Journal 112(11): 5.Google Scholar

Further Reading

  1. There is a huge literature on UK museums in general; for an up-to-date review of issues, the Museums Journal is a useful starting point. See also the Public Archaeology journal for a critical review of current developments and the Journal of the History of Collecting for an historical perspective on museum collecting in general, including archaeological collecting. The Society of Museum Archaeologists also publishes, as in its 2012 Report on Archaeological Archives and Museums.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Scottish History and ArchaeologyNational Museums ScotlandEdinburgh, MidlothianScotland, UK