The Museum Resilience Fund, which complements the Arts Council’s investment in Major Partner Museums, focuses on gaps (geographical or otherwise) and development opportunities across the sector. The latest round sees a fall in the funding amount and numbers of recipients from the first round, announced in March 2015, where a total of 108 organisations were successful in applying and received a total of more than £17.5m.
One of the notable recipients in this latest round is Lancashire Museums – where five of its 11 organisations have been threatened with closure as a result of swingeing local authority funding cuts – which has received an injection of £162,145.
There were also grants for umbrella organisations such as Kids in Museums, which has received £240,000 for building resilience. Culture24, which runs projects such as Museums at Night, has received £420,000 for its Building Digital Skills with Museums project and the Museums Association has received £407,662 for its Transformers: Radical Change in Museums project. The Arts Marketing Association has received £336,770 for its Future Proof Museums programme and the Touring Exhibition Group has received £34,000. The new National Alliance for Museums, Health & Wellbeing, which celebrated its first anniversary last month has received a grant of £151,779.
The Happy Museum initiative has also been supported with a grant of £182,000, which it will use to combine thinking and practical action around sustainability and wellbeing – exploring how, together, these support more sustainable and resilient museums. Overseen by People United, the programme will launch a new affiliate scheme and create a sustainable peer skills development network to engage those interested in Happy Museum practice. It will support development of a skilled and diverse workforce, engaging around 20 museums.
“The focus of our investment approach for museums in 2015-18 is on building a more resilient sector,” said John Orna-Ornstein, ACE’s Director of Museums. “The Museum Resilience Fund is a key part of that, providing vital support to museums right across the country. The fund responds directly to the challenges facing museums like those in Lancashire and Kirklees, and also supports major strategic initiatives such as the Museums Association’s Transformers programme.”
In its aim to support community-led initiatives ACE has awarded Wirral’s Port Sunlight Museum, which celebrates its 10th birthday this year and is run by a Village Trust a grant of £170,000. This will be used to create a hot-desk space, rooms for meetings and workshops, a kitchen, community garden and special exhibitions gallery. The award-winning museum will also develop a community volunteering programme and the initiatives will demonstrate how the museum plays a fundamental role in the social life of the village community and in the preservation of the special heritage and character of Port Sunlight.
Southampton City Art Gallery has received the largest single award of £450,000 to transform the quality of cultural experiences across the county and raise the profile of Southampton’s world-class fine art collection. Over the next 18 months, the museum will work with four other flagship galleries in Hampshire – The Sainsbury Gallery, Basingstoke; The Gallery, Winchester Discovery Centre; Gosport Gallery; and St Barbe Museum and Art Gallery – to deliver a bold and ambitious artistic programme.
The fund will also support The National Holocaust Centre’s Forever Project, which uses interactive 3D projections to immortalise the testimonies of Holocaust survivors. This latest investment (£95,550) will support the centre to grow and develop its audiences, helping to share these moving and insightful historical stories with more people for generations to come. The money will help expand the Centre’s in-demand education and outreach services, with the potential to reach thousands more school-aged children nationally.
And following its strong previous work with the Clinical Commissioning Group, Islington Museum will lead London Canal Museum and House of Illustration to form a cohort of small museums who will deliver creative provision for people with mental health difficulties. With £100,063, the project will combine the clinical needs of the healthcare sector, creative museum approaches and high-quality artistic interventions informing practice in the wider museum and healthcare community.
Karen Bradley, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, said: “We have a world-leading museums sector that protects and preserves our history, while also attracting millions of visitors every year.
“We want our museums to continue to thrive and this important fund will help them become more resilient and sustainable in the years to come.”
Stonehenge schoolchildren help launch this year’s Kids In Museums’ Takeover Day to take place in November. Kids in Museums are one of 94 organisations to benefit from the second round of ACE’s Museum Resilience Fund with a grant of £240,000