More than a museum? Understanding how small museums contribute to social capital in regional communities

University of South Australia
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Asia Pacific Journal of Arts and Cultural Management, 2008, 5 (1), pp. 314 - 332
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The purpose of this research is to understand how small museums contribute to social capital in their community. The research uses three distinct case studies to distinguish differences and similarities. The article first discusses aspects of social impact and the arts. It then identifies a suitable social capital conceptual framework to underpin the empirical research reported in this article. The methodology is explained followed by analysis and discussion of the three case studies. Each case is examined using qualitative and quantitative methodologies. The qualitative component is used to understand key stakeholder perceptions of the museum. The quantitative component is used to understand how residents place value on their local museum. The research shows that the different nature of the locations results in variable museum impacts. However, bonding networks were more strongly evidenced than bridging networks in all three cases. It also suggests that residents place more trust in museums when the location is more demographically homogenous. Research using network analysis may further illustrate how museums may contribute to social capital in their localities.
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