Written by Iain Watson, Director, Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums

Mass migration, driven by conflict, oppression, political upheaval, climate change and economic distress, has been described as “the defining issue of this century.” As such, it is one of many critical issues that museums can address in our collective duty to create a better, just and more equitable world’ Centre for the Future of Museums (2016) ‘Museums and Migration’, Centre for the Future of Museums Blog, 16 August.

Thinking about your Purpose, Mission and Vision

Organisations sometimes use the words ‘mission’, ‘vision’ and ‘purpose’ interchangeably’. Having a clear definition of each will help you focus the strategic direction of your museum and its relationship to migration. This is really important for:

  • The museum’s governing body – your board or equivalent. Ultimately they should approve your Purpose, Mission and Vision.
  • The museum’s management – the Purpose, Mission and Vision are constant reference tools which allow you to prioritise your activity and to avoid ‘mission drift’.
  • Staff and volunteers – a well-articulated Purpose, Mission and Vision help staff and volunteers understand their role and how this contributes to the museum’s strategic direction.
  • Stakeholders and funders – your Purpose, Mission and Vision will be an important element in the case for support.
  • Audiences and visitors – most of your visitors will never read your Purpose, Mission and Vision, but if you’ve got them right and use them appropriately your audiences will get a better and more focused experience.

If you are looking to create a new Purpose, Mission and Vision or to review your existing statements to think about how migration is articulated within them, then the first thing you will need to do is situation analysis.

View and download the full text and planning exercise for Purpose, Mission and Vision Download.

KEY ISSUE: Experiences of, and associations with ‘home’ are unique to every individual.