Are we taking full advantage of our botanic gardens?
The University’s School of Museum Studies, recognised for housing the greatest concentration of world class research of any department of any discipline in the UK, has applied its considerable skills in examining a more unusual subject – the role of botanic gardens.
The Botanic Gardens Conservation International commissioned our Research Centre for Museums and Galleries, with funding from the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, to look at whether botanic gardens were fulfilling a social and environmental role in their local communities, and indeed, whether they have an understanding of what those roles are.
While you may not necessarily think of a garden as a museum, the results of the study have raised very similar issues. The report has highlighted that botanic gardens recognise their importance in educating the public but that their staff resources do not always meet these aspirations. The report also stresses that more research needs to be undertaken on who uses botanic gardens and efforts to broaden their appeal.