Museums ‘about, ‘for’ and ‘with’ people: this is to last for a lifetime

It has now become commonplace to say that museums are for people. Our everyday practice in museums, though, proves this commonplace to be either wishful thinking or simply a politically correct statement which does not reflect on our actions. The future of museums, their long-term sustainability, is closely related and dependent on their relationship with people, all kinds of them and not just a minority. Decisions need to be made, priorities to be given, a whole new way of thinking and, mainly, acting must be adopted, should we want to continue relevant and, thus, alive. And what better chance have we got than this period of crisis. As it is “only in periods of general crisis [that] structural changes are possible”.


Maria Vlachou, Portugal

Museum Professional


She is the Communications Director at São Luiz Municipal Theatre (Lisbon) since 2006. Previoulsy, she was Head of Communications at the Pavilion of Knowledge – Ciência Viva (Lisbon). Member of the Board of the National Committee of ICOM Portugal since 2005. Founding member of GAM – Group for Access to Museums (Portugal). She has recently been appointed Portugal´s national correspondent for the European Museum Forum. She is one of the coordinators of the first survey in Portugal on museums and senior citizens, promoted by GAM and ICOM and financed by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. She is the author of the blog Musing on Culture ( She has a M.A. in Museum Studies (University College London, 1993-1994). In 2011-2013 she is attending the Summer International Fellowship Program of The DeVos Institute of Arts Management at the Kennedy Center in Washington.


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