Public Houses: What makes civic custodianship of historic house museums in Britain different and where next?

9 & 10 October 2024
Temple Newsam, Leeds
Tickets available soon

We’re delighted to announce that Temple Newsam will host a new conference this autumn – Public Houses: What makes civic custodianship of historic house museums in Britain different and where next?

The Public Houses conference will take place on 9 & 10 October 2024 at Temple Newsam House, Leeds.

The call for papers has now closed; we will be publishing the conference details shortly.

Conference information

Conference programme details, ticket prices, and further information will be made available in due course.

Temple Newsam aims to provide a friendly, accessible environment for everyone. Visit our access information page for more information.

If you have any queries please email [email protected].

About the conference

Local authorities care for some of the UK’s most significant historic house museums. While these are often a source of pride and a resource for the local population, museums managed by local authorities are subject to the vagaries of changing civic priorities, unique governance structures and the perpetual challenge of continued levels of funding.

Often without the clear mission of historic houses run by conservation and heritage charities or privately owned counterparts, houses owned and run by local authorities have multiple responsibilities, from accountability to local voters to the management and governance of the buildings and contents, as well as the greenspaces that often surround historic houses.

Alongside these stewardship pressures, local authority historic houses navigate a complex, changing landscape of priorities, which require new forms of expertise, new modes of presentation and interpretation. With increasing emphasis on partnership working, more sustainable alternative uses, ‘public entrepreneurship’, community engagement, and heritage driven regeneration, the purpose and practice of civic custodianship is being redefined and reimagined.

This interdisciplinary conference, a collaboration between Leeds City Council and the University of Leeds, supported by the Paul Mellon Foundation, is hosted by Temple Newsam House, itself recently celebrating 100 years as a museum run by a local authority. The conference aims to bring together practitioners, scholars and policy makers to explore what it means to be a publicly owned and managed historic house museum in the 21st century, and what the future might hold.

It is hoped that the conference will open a wider discussion about the challenges and opportunities for historic house museums in civic custody, and highlight and share areas of good practice. We envisage that conference outcomes will be published in a report.

Please check this page for further details about the conference and tickets.

Please email [email protected] for further information.

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