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Download the Museum as Muck Manifesto

History of the network

Museum as Muck was founded in 2018 as a response to the lack of working class people in museum, gallery and heritage organisations. Beginning as an informal community providing support and solidarity for working class museum professionals, we are now a formal network with over 800 Muckers spread across the UK and Ireland.

In addition to operating as a place of belonging for Muckers, we actively push to improve the socio-economic diversity of staff within the sector, along with new approaches to interpretation, programming and collecting.

With an expert and experienced steering group we devise and deliver interventions to enable these changes to happen.

Where does our name come from?

Museum as Muck is taken from the historically derogatory phrase 'common as muck' used to refer to someone deemed of lower social status. Us Muckers are common and proud. 

What do we mean by 'working class'?

For Museum as Muck the term working class describes people who come from a background of low social (who you know), cultural (what you know) and economic (how much money you have) capital (see French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu's theory on class).

After seeking advice on the language we use and for ease of communication we have decided to use the phrase ‘working class’ as a catch-all term. When Museum as Muck uses it, we include all working class people. We do acknowledge, however, that the working class experience is hugely varied, so some Muckers may identify more with terms such as underclass, benefits class or criminal class.

Steering group

Our Steering Group represent the 800 members of our network. We focus on making the aims of Museum as Muck happen. Steering Group members have an incredible breadth of skills and experience from across the museum sector, and bring creative talents from theatre, writing and visual arts. Collectively we live and work across the whole of the UK with roles in visitor services, digital, learning and engagement, curatorial, senior leadership, collections, interpretation and events.

We are grateful for the contributions of previous Steering Group members Sara Fortune, Holly Henry, Zeynep Kussan, Kayleigh MacMahon, Amy Muir, Hanley Quintrell, Stephanie Robinson, Tracey Weller and Catriona West.