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The sustainable management of museums: an Italian perspective


  • Tonino Pencarelli

    () (Faculty of Economics, University of Urbino “Carlo Bo”, Urbino, Italy)

  • Mara Cerquetti

    () (Department of Education, Cultural Heritage and Tourism, University of Macerata, Macerata, Italy)

  • Simone Splendiani

    () (Department of Economics, University of Perugia, Perugia, Italy)


Purpose – The theme of sustainability in museums has not been sufficiently explored in the international literature on cultural heritage management as well as few museums are already involved in programs to promote sustainable development. Considering this gap, the purpose of this study is twofold. Firstly, to provide a conceptual model applying the principles of sustainable development to the enhancement of cultural heritage and, secondly, to analyze the case of Marche Region. Design – After analysing the three dimensions of sustainability – environmental, social and economic – and their possible application to museum management, the research tested the theoretical assumptions through an exploratory qualitative/ quantitative survey. Methodology –The structured questionnaire was submitted to a sample of museums and consisted of a wide range of questions, primarily, although not exclusively, quantitative, which examined both museum management and sustainability orientation. Approach – The analysis focused on two different dimensions: the first aimed at understanding the perception of sustainability and the value of its components, the second aimed at investigating museums’ willingness and reasons to engage in concrete sustainability-oriented actions. Finding – The field research showed Marche Region’s museums have a full awareness of the benefits of sustainable management. However, the lack of a managerial approach to the museums’ development compromises their ability to transfer this orientation in operational policies. Originality of research – The paper provides a multidimensional model for measuring the level of museum sustainability, able to analyze cultural and behavioral components. This analysis identifies possible areas of intervention for regional policies aimed at improving sustainability orientation of museums.

Suggested Citation

  • Tonino Pencarelli & Mara Cerquetti & Simone Splendiani, 2016. "The sustainable management of museums: an Italian perspective," Tourism and Hospitality Management, University of Rijeka, Faculty of Tourism and Hospitality Management, vol. 22(1), pages 29-46, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:tho:journl:v:22:y:2016:n:1:p:29-46
    DOI: 10.20867/thm.22.1.6

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    Cited by:

    1. Izabela Luiza Pop & Anca Borza & Anuța Buiga & Diana Ighian & Rita Toader, 2019. "Achieving Cultural Sustainability in Museums: A Step Toward Sustainable Development," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(4), pages 1-22, February.
    2. Marialuisa Saviano & Clara Bassano & Paolo Piciocchi & Primiano Di Nauta & Mattia Lettieri, 2018. "Monitoring Viability and Sustainability in Healthcare Organizations," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(10), pages 1-23, October.
    3. Luisa Errichiello & Roberto Micera, 2018. "Leveraging Smart Open Innovation for Achieving Cultural Sustainability: Learning from a New City Museum Project," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(6), pages 1-23, June.

    More about this item


    Sustainability; museum management; cultural heritage; tourism;

    JEL classification:

    • L83 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Sports; Gambling; Restaurants; Recreation; Tourism


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