How EGMUS came about
The initiative to establish a European group (not only of EU-countries) to describe the (different) ways of handling museum statistics in each country, encourage mutual inspiration by learning from others' practice, clear the path, if possible, for a potential harmonization - and thus: come closer to comparable national statistics and discuss related topics, has been born on the Berlin conference in 1995. Other conferences followed.
The main objectives of the conferences were on the one hand, to become familiar with the museum statistics of the various European countries of which representatives took part. On the other hand, further issues were discussed which are related to museum statistics (e.g. performance indicators for museum work, changes of ownership, relationship between museums and webmuseums or in other words: virtual visits versus personal visits).
LEG Culture / Eurostat Task Force - EU Working Group for Museum Statistics
In the 1990s the lack of comparable cultural statistics at EU level was discussed in a number of European conferences. On 20 November 1995, the Council of Ministers adopted a resolution concerning promotion of cultural statistics and economic growth as a follow-up to several meetings of national experts. This resolution was initiated under French, Spanish and Italian Presidencies. In doing so, the Council confirmed its resolution of 1992 with the same topic. The statistical institute of the European Union, Eurostat set up a pilot project, the so called Leadership Group (LEG) on «Harmonisation of Cultural Statistics in the EU», approved by SPC, Statistical Programme Committee 13th March 1997 with the task of "developing cultural statistics capable of describing the European cultural scene and enabling inter-country comparisons to be made easily". The final report of the LEG on Cultural Statistics in the EU - was published in 2002 in the culture report.
Following the completion of this report, Eurostat in consultation with the Member States established a Working Group on Cultural Statistics consisting of three Task Forces: on cultural participation, cultural financing and expenditure and, cultural employment. The approach was approved by SPC on 25th November 1999. This general approach to cultural statistics was looked upon as a very long roadmap and therefore the representatives of the Ministries of Culture of Luxembourg and The Netherlands, decided to start a group on museum statistics. In this institutional vertical approach, attention was and is paid to the three aspects defined by Eurostat working group: museum participation (i.e. visits), financing/ expenditure of the museums and employment in the museums as well as on other aspects like museum systems, facilities offered to the public, digitization, etc.
The participants of the EU Working Group for Museum Statistics came from the Member States participating in the LEG and the subsequent Working Group on Cultural Statistics and from the field. All, being experts working in this special domain. Although the Museum Group was not an official Task Force of the Eurostat, the co-coordinators of this group took part in the yearly meeting of the Eurostat Working Group and presented reports on the progress in the field of museum statistics at EU level.
The work of the Working Group for Museum Statistics started in December 1999 in The Hague with selection and definition of indicators considered to be significant for the museums. The co- coordinators from Luxembourg and The Netherlands drafted the so called Abridged List of Key Museum Indicators (ALOKMI) which was discussed and amended at meetings of the Working Group. ALOKMI, and the definitions agreed upon, served as the framework for collected national data on museums from participating countries. The EGMUS tables published on this website are a result of this effort.
From the very start the co-coordinators realized that another important initiative was going on in the field of museum statistics: the "Berlin conference" initiated in 1995 by the Institut für Museumsforschung (Institute for Museum Research) in Berlin. As the coordinators of both initiatives attended meetings of both groups, it was a question of time that the two groups would merge. This was the case in June 2002.
The continuing cooperation between the Berlin group and its EU counterpart resulted in acknowledging the situation that a merger of the groups would be beneficial for the work and for all participants. Therefore, in 2002 this merger was decided upon. The new group adopted the name "European Group on Museum Statistics" (EGMUS). The core group meets on a regular basis to coordinate EGMUS activities and to prepare the annual plenary meeting.
In its meetings EGMUS concentrates on changing aspects related to museums ranging from privatisation tendencies and changing ownership, depth of documentation for objects and collections available, relation between museums and their virtual representation on the internet to educational offers and target groups of the museums.
A major achievement of EGMUS is the standard questionnaire for the collection of statistical data on museums which should be included in upcoming national and European surveys in order to reach comparable statistical information on museums in Europe. Standard questionnaire ...
The group is constantly monitoring what is available on museum related statistical data. Basic resources are summed up within the country reports, included in this publication. Of course, there is more data available related to various topics. E.g., statistical information with regard to the digitisation efforts within the cultural sector, which includes museums in some places, can be looked for in the annual report: "Coordinating digitisation in Europe - Progress report of the National Representatives Group coordination mechanisms for digitisation policies and programmes 2006", published by: MINERVA project, 2007. The publication is available on the website http://www.minervaeurope.org/publications/globalreport/globalrep2006.htm
In 2007, the European Commission contracted IPF Ltd. to develop empirical measures for digitisation activities in the field of cultural heritage.http://www.numeric.ws/ This work was supported by the Member States' Expert Group on Digitisation and Preservation and by EGMUS. The final report is available on the numeric website.
The follow-up of this work is the new ENUMERATE project: the contract between the Commission and the project coordinator "Collections Trust, UK" has been signed December 2010.
A number of EGMUS Members was active in the development of the European Statistical System Network and coordinated the 2-years project on harmonization of European statistics on culture. To reach the objectives, the focus was put on four areas: framework and definitions, financing and expenditure, culture industries and cultural practices and social aspects. The Final Report (http://ec.europa.eu/culture/library/reports/ess-net-report_en.pdf) is available on the website of the European Commission ec.europa.eu.
In Memoriam Vladimír Bína (1945-2014)
The cradle rocks above an abyss, and common sense tells us that our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness. (Vladimir Nabokov)
On 2nd February 2014 sociologist Dr. Vladimír Bína passed away. He was born in Czechoslovakia in 1945, where he studied at Charles University in Prague. His life in The Netherlands started in the autumn of 1968, on the flee from the armies of the Warsaw Pact that invaded his country. He studied sociology in Tilburg, was assistant to the Dutch sociologist Anton Zijderveld, and received his Ph.D. from the Free University Amsterdam in 1981. In 1988 he started to work for the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, where he worked as research coordinator, and became an internationally acclaimed expert in the research of culture and media.
He was an active member of several European expert groups, and delivered countless contributions in international conferences. Vladimír has been involved in international efforts to improve and harmonise cultural statistics and indicators by the Council of Europe (Compendium on Cultural Policies and Trends in Europe - www.culturalpolicies.net), Eurostat (Leadership Group on Cultural Statistics, Working Group on Cultural Statistics), UNESCO Institute of Statistics and OECD. He is also one of the coordinators of the European Group on Museum Statistics (EGMUS).
We think about Vladimír with great affection, and remember his mild scepticism, his great erudition, his sense of humour, his love for music (Janáček) and literature (Nabokov). His crack of light enlighted the road we walked for a while together. We say goodbye to a Czechoslovakian, who worked and lived in The Netherlands but became a real European.
On behalf of the entire EGMUS Group, Robert Oosterhuis, research coordinator culture and media, Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, The Netherlands