Throughout the country, museums libraries and archives have been the vanguard of social and economic change. Buildings from Daniel Libeskind's Imperial War Museum of the North to the new Jubilee Library in Brighton are at the crest of a wave of regeneration. But, as the increased popularity of the sector, and the trust that politicians have placed in it shows, there is much more to these new buildings than cutting edge architecture. Housed in each of these visual successes, there is a wealth of social, economic and political activity that is instrumental in building our futures.
The Museums, Libraries and Archives Council leads a sector that is at the forefront of democratisation and enfranchisement. The institutions within the sector have reinvented themselves from being passive repositories of the past, to become deliverers of social and economic value, playing an empowering role in a more participatory, multi-cultural and engaged society. The innovation that they have shown in enabling this, and the imagination that they inspire are essential stimuli to a creative Britain.
Visitor numbers to museums rise again, and comedian Frank Skinner aims to 'persuade people of the benefits of going into a gallery, even for a short time and even if it is just to get out of the rain'
In Baltimore, museums are using mobile phone technology to deliver information to visitors in a way that both uses a platform with which they are already comfortable, and a means of enabling people to share hteir opinions with each other.
One of the most commonly heard criticisms of Tate Modern is the paucity of its collection...