According to the British market research organisation, Ipsos MORI, 86 per cent of people in the UK would trust museum curators, a recent survey by the group has found. Ipsos MORI’s Veracity Index is a poll that is conducted regularly in the UK to determine how trustworthy, or otherwise, certain jobs and professions are considered among the general public. It is the longest-running poll on the trustworthiness of professional people in Britain. During the survey, researchers asked adults of all ages to assess whether they would trust people who worked in a range of 30 different job settings to tell them the truth.
The survey’s findings were made public in December. They showed that museum curators were the fourth most trusted profession of all. The top three consisted of nurses, who scored a 94 per cent trustworthiness rating, librarians, who were a little behind on 93 per cent and doctors, who came in at 91 per cent. Museum curators were placed alongside teachers who also received a score of 86 per cent from those asked. The 2021 report by Ipsos MORI shows that museum curators are seeing something of an upturn in how trusted they are by the British people. The latest figure shows a four-percentage-point increase from last year’s Veracity Index. Back in 2020, when the report was last published, Ipsos MORI said that just 82 per cent of those who took part in the survey thought that curators were to be trusted. That meant they ranked eighth behind engineers, members of the judiciary, university professors and scientists – all professions that have been overtaken in 2021’s survey.
The report does not just offer one figure of how trusted curators are. It is possible to break down the anonymised poll to see the results according to different demographic groups, for example. Interestingly, there is very little change with museum and gallery curators when viewed according to different groups, something that cannot be said of every profession in the survey. For instance, 87 per cent of Labour voters said they trusted curators while a very similar proportion of Conservative voters – 88 per cent, to be precise – took the same view. Furthermore, 86 per cent of men said they would trust a curator to tell them the truth while 87 per cent of women agreed. As such, it is quite telling how trusted museum curators are in society regardless of which demographic group is asked.
That being said, the educational background of those who took part in the survey revealed something of a gap. According to the current index, people with a degree qualification would be more likely to find museum curators trustworthy on average compared to people who had not been educated to that level. In fact, 93 per cent of those people who responded who had a degree said they would trust a museum curator while just 76 per cent of those without one would agree.
Mike Clemence, an employee at the market research firm, said that this year’s index was marked by a new entrant in the top five of the professional rankings. “Today, in excess of nine out of ten Britons say that they would trust a librarian to tell the truth,” he said. According to him, this shift in public perception confirms some trends that market researchers had already started to see in 2020. “Most notably, there has been a further drop in trust in the police,” he said before pointing out that this was a change that could be detected among men as well as women.
Trust in journalists has also been going up in recent years. The index indicated that it now equals the highest level ever recorded since the poll began being collated back in 1983. The report also states that other professions, such as professional footballers and estate agents, have seen an improvement in the way they are perceived. “We have seen a modest increase in trust for politicians, too,” Clemence said. However, he also admitted that trust in this group among the public was still something that only one in five Britons agreed with.
About the author – Manuel Charr
Manuel Charr is a journalist working in the arts and cultural sectors. With a background in marketing, Manuel is drawn to arts organizations which are prepared to try inventive ways to reach new audiences.