NEMO's 24th Annual Conference - Money Matters: The Economic Value of Museums

10 - 12 November 2016, Karlsruhe, Germany

The Network of European Museum Organisations' 24th Annual Conference took place from 10-12 November 2016 in Kalrsruhe Germany. The topic "Money Matters: The Economic Value of Museums" invited discussions about spill-over effects of museums as well as business models for museums.

33 speakers and 170 participants from 36 countries attended the conference to speak about the various aspects of economy in museums and explore certain aspects in-depth during the workshop sessions.

The conference in short: Our storify

© Badisches Landesmuseum, Foto: Goldschmidt
© Badisches Landesmuseum, Foto: Goldschmidt
© Badisches Landesmuseum, Foto: Goldschmidt
© Badisches Landesmuseum, Foto: Goldschmidt


The second half started with Björn Stenvers, director at the Amsterdam Museums Foundation, who shared his experiences and the value of cooperation that is beneficial to big- and small-sized museums. The deputy director of the POLIN museum, Dorota Keller-Zalewska, explained the public-private-partnership concept of this year's winner of the European Museum of the Year Award. Another example of cooperation between museums was offered by Jan Merk, who explained the MuseumsPassMusées to the audience. The concept of a museums pass across three countries poses opportunitites and challenges, as the director of the regional Markgräfler Museum Müllheim/Baden and head of the department for culture and tourism in the region by the same name, explained. In light of budget cuts the Museums Associations director, Sharon Heal, ledged onto the challenges museums are being faced with and made important statements about the role of museums and their contribution to society, sharing new ways in which museums become active partners beyond the often presented educational sector under the concept "Museums change lives". Siebe Weide, NEMO executive board member and director of the Netherlands Museums Association, hosted the following discussion that sparked further thought on the value and presentation of museums.

In the evening of 10 November 2016, the participants could already get acquainted with the location for the next day during the reception at Badisches Landesmuseum. The Baden State Orchestra started off the conference with the first movement of Mozart's Oboe quartet.

On Friday, 11 November, NEMO's chair David Vuillaume, Petra Olschowski, State Secretary of the Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts in Baden-Württemberg, Karlsruhe's first mayor Wolfram Jäger and the president of the hosting German Museums Association and director of the Badische Landesmuseum Eckart Köhne welcomed the participants.

Pier Luigi Sacco, professor for Cultural Economics at IULM University in Milan and visiting professor at Harvard University, opened the floor for discussions with his key note "How do museums create value" in which he identified three regimes of value creation that have grown over time against the socio-economic background. He discussed the measurment of values and emphasised the importance of the social role museums hold.

In the first panel the managing director of the National Network of Romanian Museums, Dragos Neamu, welcomed Richard Naylor, Kimmo Levä, Beatriz Plaza, Christoph Kremer and Eric Philippart, who offered different examples on the spill-over effects of museums. Richard Naylor from BOP Consulting discussed reasons and ways to measure the value of museums. His speech was a great basis for the Secretary General of the Finnish Museums Association, Kimmo Levä, and his question: The results speak for themselves, so why isn’t anyone listening? He concluded with a new definition of "museum":

A museum is a service organisation that helps its customers to fulfill their needs and responsibilities in preserving, studying, teaching, and exhibiting heritage and culture, as well as generating economic and social wealth.

Kimmo Levä was followed by Beatriz Plaza, professor in Urban and Regional Economics at the University of the Basque Country, who discussed the Guggenheim effect in Bilbao. Christoph Kremer of Ars Electronica provided examples of creative input from museums to different companies and Eric Philippart, DG GROW, talked about the museum's impact on tourism.

Our conference in numbers.

© Badisches Landesmuseum, Foto: Goldschmidt
© Badisches Landesmuseum, Foto: Goldschmidt

The conference continued with an interview with Paul Spies who shared his thoughts and ideas about his post at the Stiftung Stadtmuseum Berlin and the Humboldt Forum Berlin with Sofia Tsilidou, Greek Ministry of Culture, Religious Affairs and Sports and NEMO board member, and the audience.

© Badisches Landesmuseum, Foto: Goldschmidt

The day concluded with a reception at the city hall and an organ concert at the municipal church.

On day 2 NEMO's Working Groups opened their meetings to all participants and the Working Group leaders Margherita Sani (LEM), Pascal Ennaert (IPR) and Ineta Simansone (Museums and Creative Industries) were joined by expert guests Veronika Sekules, Andrea Wallace and Chris Bailey respectively. Dietmar Osses facilitated a workshop on projects and guidelines for the work with migrants and refugees.

In the afternoon 6 workshops revolving around the economic realm of museums offered room to deal more in-depth with crowdfunding, EU-funding programmes, Museomix, quality criteria frameworks, pitching digital projects and the national museum week in the Netherlands.

Find out more about the Working Group sessions and workshops here.

NEMO Members attended the Annual General Assembly afterwards and everybody met again at the Kunsthalle Karlsruhe to celebrate a successful conference together!

The conference proceedings will be available in early 2017.

We also recommend this great report by the Arts Management Network!

NEMO would like to thank its partners for this conference




Kunsthalle Karlsruhe, Badische Landesbibliothek, Badisches Staatstheater, Center for Arts and Media Karlsruhe (ZKM Karlsruhe), Stadtmuseum Karlsruhe, Evangelische Stadtkirche Karlsruhe and KTG Karlsruhe Tourismus GmbH.


Media Partners





Pier Luigi Sacco - How do museums create value?


Richard Naylor - Measuring the value of museums: options, tips and benefits

Kimmo Levä - The results speak for themselves, so why isn't anyone listening?

Beatriz Plaza - A critical reflection of Guggenheim's Return on Investment

Christoph Kremer - Creating more: Partnerships with scientific, social and artistic sectors

Eric Philippart - The potential of museums for the tourism sector at European level


Björn Stenvers - Amsterdam's Museums: A better return through cooperation

Dorota Keller-Zalewska - POLIN: Examining a public private partnership model for museums

Jan Merk - Enabling Cultural Tourism: MuseumsPassMusées - entrance to 330 museums in 3 countries

Sharon Heal - Austerity bites: How to avoid death by a thousand cuts (video of Museums Change Lives)