chapter  10
19 Pages

Collections and values

The word value conjures up a number of feel-good aspects, a concept rather than a definition. In earlier days it was considered self-evident that museum collections were valuable and useful, and in many countries it still is so assumed. Now, the need to justify them is more common, as Chapter 1, Introduction, shows. Especially in the UK and the Netherlands, the current political and management culture requires that the cost of everything be known (and the value of nothing, as the saying goes?). One may regret that everything should be reduced to something that can be counted, but still, it is interesting to chart some of the dimensions of the value of collections. As ever, there is a lot written about the economics of museums and galleries, but far less on the collections.