An exhibition touring network is to develop and tour three new exhibitions after it secured funding from Arts Council England and Art Fund.
The Museums and Galleries Network for Exhibition Touring (MAGNET) brings together 12 partners across England, plus the Touring Exhibitions Group (TEG), to co-develop new exhibitions which will tour between partner venues.
A £336,000 Touring Projects grant from Arts Council England will enable MAGNET to develop and tour three new exhibitions, all of which will open at their first venues in summer 2025.
A further £75,000 from Art Fund will help fund a three-year full-time MAGNET Coordinator post. MAGNET partner TEG will further support the network with workshops and resources on all aspects of touring exhibitions.
The MAGNET partners are: Brighton & Hove Museums; Bristol Museums; Derby Museums; Hampshire Cultural Trust; Horniman Museum and Gardens (lead); Manchester Museum, part of the University of Manchester; Norfolk Museums Service; Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery, Exeter; Sheffield Museums; Touring Exhibitions Group (TEG); Tullie, Carlisle; Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums and World Museum Liverpool.
The three-year funding period will also see MAGNET attempt to develop a sustainable business model to allow future touring to other partner venues and the creation of further exhibitions.
Nick Merriman, Chief Executive of the Horniman Museum and Gardens and MAGNET lead, said: “We know that, by pooling our resources, we can offer high-quality, co-curated exhibitions that make the collections of the whole network accessible to the public in a meaningful way.
“Thanks to Arts Council England and Art Fund we can now continue MAGNET’s reach beyond the walls and vaults of any one museum and into local communities around the country.”
Hannah Lake, Director of Touring at Arts Council England, added: “It’s an exciting and important opportunity for a network of museums to develop a new model for touring exhibitions. Touring in a sustainable way helps us to ensure that as many people as possible across the country – no matter where they come from or what their circumstances – have access to the best of art and culture locally in their villages, towns and cities.”
The three new collections-based exhibitions, to be developed in partnership by MAGNET venues, are:
A for Anthropocene (working title) at Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery and Derby’s Museum and Art Gallery, followed later by Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums, Manchester Museum and the Horniman
What Does Colour Mean To You? (working title) at Exeter’s Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery, Tullie, Carlisle, and Gosport Museum and Art Gallery, followed by Sheffield Museums and Bristol Museum and Art Gallery
Gender Stories (working title) at Bristol Museum and Art Gallery and Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, followed by World Museum Liverpool.
MAGNET has secured the funding following the successful pilot of its inaugural exhibition Hair: Untold Stories, which opened at the Horniman Museum and Gardens in south London in December 2022 before touring to Tullie, and is currently at Weston Park Museum in Sheffield.