Why Collect?, Art Fund and Wolfson Foundation (Publication)

Posted: Monday, 19 February 2018

Art Fund and Wolfson Foundation have published Why Collect?, a report on museum collecting in the UK, written by historian Sir David Cannadine.

This new report calls for increased investment in museums and their collections and has been commissioned by Art Fund and the Wolfson Foundation to mark 40 years of collaboration in bringing art and objects into public collections.

It highlights the ever-widening gap between the spiralling prices of works on the international art market and the limited acquisition funds available to museums and galleries in the UK. It calls for increased investment in museums and their collections, as public spending on museums has decreased by 13% in real terms over the last decade. It is, writes Cannadine, a report that 'instead of giving comfort and reassurance, expresses anxiety and concern.'

Cannadine's analysis of museum and gallery collecting traces its history from the 1830s to the present day and is accompanied by 11 case studies which explore various facets of the social and cultural impact of collecting. This is supported by statistical evidence from a national survey involving 266 collecting institutions. The report was undertaken to address the question of how, why and on what scale publicly funded museums and galleries continue to expand their collections.

Click here to access and download this publication.