Purpose – The purpose of this research aims at extending the knowledge on whether and how universities include sustainability dimensions in managing their collections. Precisely, the study focusses on the creation of a university museum (UM), as an embryonic stage of life during which management concerns both strategic and operational issues. Design/methodology/approach – Sustainability is envisioned as a multifaceted concept, composed of the economic, cultural, environmental and social dimensions. Resorting to an acknowledged theoretical model for sustainable development in museum management, a qualitative interpretative study is carried out, gathering data from multiple sources. The empirical setting is the University of Pavia, which has recently created a new Museum of Natural History (Kosmos). Findings – Results highlight how sustainability dimensions intertwin in UM creation. Moreover, the economic dimension emerges as a basement for the others. Value for the community, expressed in economic terms, must be ensured in UMs creation as well as throughout its entire life, in order to support cultural, environmental and social sustainability. Research limitations/implications – Focussing on the embryonic stage of UMs life allowed to consider how sustainability is embedded in relevant strategic and operational decisions. Nevertheless, scholars are encouraged to replicate the study in other stages of UMs’ life, in a way to provide insights on its dynamics. Practical implications – University collections managers can benefit from this research by acknowledging the role played by the economic dimension of sustainability. Notwithstanding their mission, universities should pay attention to extracting economic value from the management of their collections, as a means to ensure innovative and sustainable management on the cultural, environmental and social respects. Furthermore, this research suggests how a higher education system is able to create a new museum by relying on interdisciplinary competencies, which support sustainability since the embryonic stage. Originality/value –This research contributes to the cultural heritage management literature by proposing an updated version of the sustainable development model for museums, which highlights the different relevance of the sustainability dimensions with particular regard to the UM creation and management.

Embedding sustainability dimensions in university collections management: a “scientific journey” into a natural history museum

Michela Magliacani;
2020-01-01

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this research aims at extending the knowledge on whether and how universities include sustainability dimensions in managing their collections. Precisely, the study focusses on the creation of a university museum (UM), as an embryonic stage of life during which management concerns both strategic and operational issues. Design/methodology/approach – Sustainability is envisioned as a multifaceted concept, composed of the economic, cultural, environmental and social dimensions. Resorting to an acknowledged theoretical model for sustainable development in museum management, a qualitative interpretative study is carried out, gathering data from multiple sources. The empirical setting is the University of Pavia, which has recently created a new Museum of Natural History (Kosmos). Findings – Results highlight how sustainability dimensions intertwin in UM creation. Moreover, the economic dimension emerges as a basement for the others. Value for the community, expressed in economic terms, must be ensured in UMs creation as well as throughout its entire life, in order to support cultural, environmental and social sustainability. Research limitations/implications – Focussing on the embryonic stage of UMs life allowed to consider how sustainability is embedded in relevant strategic and operational decisions. Nevertheless, scholars are encouraged to replicate the study in other stages of UMs’ life, in a way to provide insights on its dynamics. Practical implications – University collections managers can benefit from this research by acknowledging the role played by the economic dimension of sustainability. Notwithstanding their mission, universities should pay attention to extracting economic value from the management of their collections, as a means to ensure innovative and sustainable management on the cultural, environmental and social respects. Furthermore, this research suggests how a higher education system is able to create a new museum by relying on interdisciplinary competencies, which support sustainability since the embryonic stage. Originality/value –This research contributes to the cultural heritage management literature by proposing an updated version of the sustainable development model for museums, which highlights the different relevance of the sustainability dimensions with particular regard to the UM creation and management.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11571/1363974
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