Museum Ethnographers Group

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The Museum Ethnographers Group (MEG) is a United Kingdom-based collective for those working with and researching ethnographic collections in museums. It is registered as a charity in England and Wales (no. 1023150) and is recognised in the UK museum sector as a subject specialist network. It is often known to its members by its acronym MEG. Its most obvious functions are the annual conference it organises and the journal it publishes.


MEG was founded in 1975 at a meeting in Liverpool on Communicating Anthropology — the role of museums, when its first Chair was Peter Gathercole.[1][2]

MEG conference[edit]

MEG holds an annual conference, normally hosted by a UK museum. Recent conferences have been at the Museum of English Rural Life, University of Reading (2010), Bristol Museum/University (2009), St John's College, University of Oxford (2008), National Maritime Museum, Greenwich (2007), Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery (2006), Manchester Museum (2005), Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge (2004), University of Leicester (2003).

Journal of Museum Ethnography[edit]

The MEG newsletter for many years functioned as a kind of journal, containing scholarly articles despite its photocopied pages.[citation needed] In 1989, MEG began to publish the Journal of Museum Ethnography (JME), and has done so every year since. In 2010, MEG reached an agreement with JSTOR to digitise all past issues of JME, as well as the early newsletters.

Issues and themes
Volume Year Theme
1 1989 A Question of Image
2 1990 The Walrus Said
3 1991 African Anthropology in Scotland
4 1992 Baskets of the World
5 1993 What is Ethnography?
6 1994 Museum Ethnography and Communities
7 1995 Tourism, Anthropology and Museums & New Developments in Scotland
8 1996 Picturing Paradise
9 1997 MEG 21st Birthday: Past and future in museum ethnography
10 1998 Inter-Active: World Cultures and Museum Education
11 1999 ‘Arts Premiers’? Ethnography and Art in the late 20th Century
12 2000 Glimpses of Africa – Museums, scholarship and popular culture
13 2001 Developing Dialogues: Museums and their Communities
14 2002 Transformations
15 2003 Power and Collecting
16 2004 Developing Audiences – Developing Collections
17 2005 Pacific Ethnography, Politics and Museums
18 2006 Looking Backward, Looking Forward
19 2007 Feeling the Vibes: Dealing with Intangible Heritage
20 2008 Objects of Trade
21 2009 Encounters with Polynesia: Exhibiting the Past in the Present
22 2010 Museum Ethnography at Home


  1. ^ Museum Ethnographers Newsletter No. 1 (19 July 1976)
  2. ^ Interview of Peter Gathercole by Alan Macfarlane and Ami Henare. Filmed by Alan Macfarlane at King's College, 8 May 2003.

External links[edit]