Research Centre for Museums and Galleries (RCMG)

New Walk Museum vision

New Walk Museum opened in 1849 and was one of the first public museums to be established in the UK. Situated in Leicester, one of the UK's most ethically diverse cities, the museum collections encompass decorative arts, costume and textiles, archaeology, geology and Egyptology. Located on New Walk, Leicester's historic eighteenth century walkway which stretches from the city centre to Victoria Park in the south of the city, it’s location and diversity mean that the Museum has great potential to act as a hub for heritage and to play a key role in the social and cultural life of the City.

Aims and objectives

Commissioned by Arts Council England in a direct move to unlock the potential of New Walk Museum, Establishing a Vision: New Walk Museum and the Story of Leicester, was a partnership between Leicester Arts and Museum Service, Leicester City Council and RCMG. The project set out to re-think the role of New Walk Museum within the life of the City and to work with Museum staff and key stakeholders to identify a set of core values and priorities to inform all future developments at the Museum.

This project set out to:

  • Foster innovation and ambition for New Walk Museum.
  • Place visitors at the heart of a new strategic vision for New Walk Museum.
  • Generate new ways of thinking about the Museum, its location, its physical fabric, its collections and its resources in the context of the City of Leicester.
  • Deliver a shared sense of the rationale and focus of New Walk Museum as well as an overarching plan and set of priorities for the Museum through which future developments, large or small, will be developed.

Key findings

The project established a new vision for New Walk Museum based on the following principles:

Our mission: 

  • To inspire a passion for learning and a passion for Leicester. We do this through a focus on people and place, linking a local focus to global perspectives and stories.

We will:

  • Build relationships with all our local communities.
  • Work in partnership with a range of educational and social organisations.
  • Create a shared social space for dialogue, debate and active citizenship.
  • Inspire creativity by opening up opportunities for participation and collaboration.
  • Look to the past to understand the present and inform the future.
  • Contribute to making Leicester an inspiring city to work in, live in and visit.

Our values:

  • We believe that museums are fundamentally educational in purpose and should be enjoyable places to visit.
  • We believe that museums are places for ideas and dialogue that use collections to inspire people.
  • We believe that museums have a significant role to play in the social fabric of the city, enhancing people’s lives and providing a force for social good.


The report describes and illustrates the activities undertaken by the project partners and sets out the results of this process and some early representations of the 'vision in action'.

Establishing a Vision: New Walk Museum and the Story of Leicester (Report, 2013) (PDF, 3,312KB)

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