Demographic Change Threatens Heritage

During the late 1980’s, 1990s’ and early 2000’s many heritage organisations became very reliant upon a wave of eager volunteers who had taken early retirement. Indeed, it can be argued that the rapid expansion of local heritage groups, specialist collections and museums which has taken place over the last thirty years would probably not have occurred without this body of experienced but still relatively young and active volunteers. As this “baby boom” wave passes and the age of retirement rises rapidly towards 70 plus the number of younger retirees is dropping.

UCS Heritage Futures is conducting research on the impact of this major social and demographic trend and it is obvious that it has serious consequences for the future of many heritage organisations across the UK.  

These issues were the subject of recent edition of BBC Radio 4’s excellent “Making History” programme which featured Dr Geraint Coles from UCS Heritage Futures talking about recent work and current trends. If you had the misfortune to miss this broadcast you can listen again at BBC iplayer radio at


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