Popping the museum: the cases of Sheffield and Preston

Tara Brabazon, Stephen Mallinder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article excavates the ‘problem’ of popular culture in museums, with
particular attention to Sheffield’s National Centre for Popular Music and Preston’s National Football Museum. In both cases, profound issues are raised for information and knowledge experts who must manage and negotiate the
contradictions of the popular. These two case studies are contextualized
through both urban regeneration policies and sports tourism strategies. Both
institutions were situated in the North of England, and both faced extraordinary
obstacles. What is interesting is that Sheffield’s Centre was termed – derisively
– a Museum. It failed. Preston embraced the label of a National Museum, and
after profound threats to the institution, has survived. Part of the explanation for
these distinct trajectories is found in understanding the specific challenges that
popular culture presents for the presentation of history, narrative, identity and
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)96-112
Number of pages17
JournalMuseum and Society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2006

Bibliographical note

© 2006, Tara Brabazon, Stephen Mallinder


  • Popular culture
  • creative industries
  • urban regeneration
  • sports tourism


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