Industrial Museums Scotland, the country’s federation of independent industrial museums, is to launch a nationwide project to address conservation skills and in turn ensure the future of industrial artefacts.

It will employ a conservator and industrial conservation intern to work alongside 100 employees and volunteers to develop skills, particularly in the care of large industrial objects, important paper archives and innovative and historic engines.

The two year project has been designed to ensure the 14 member museums, which include the Museum of Lead Mining, Scottish Fisheries Museum, and Discovery Point, have a trained workforce equipped to care for their Nationally Significant collections.

Members of Industrial Museums Scotland care for 13 collections recognised as being of National Significance by the Scottish Government.

The move comes after a skills review, led by Industrial Museums Scotland, suggested funding cuts over recent years have led to fewer staff and a decrease in specialist training.

Chartered Institute of Fundraising October 2021
© Industrial Museums Scotland

The project will entail training, workplace exchanges, a conference and shadowing a conservator, as well as online resources to benefit the future workforce.

The £230,000 project has been supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Museum Galleries Scotland, the Pilgrim Trust, Historic Environment Scotland, the Headley Trust and the Gordon Fraser Charitable Trust.

Announcing the Powering Our People project David Mann, Chair of Industrial Museums Scotland, says: “We are grateful to funders for supporting this major legacy project for Scotland’s industrial museums. Key skills will be gained and shared within the workforce and the care of Scotland’s amazing and nationally important industrial heritage will become more sustainable into the future.”

Lucy Casot, CEO of Museums Galleries Scotland said an increase in training opportunities for employees and volunteers “will help support the dissemination of skills and knowledge, which will be of benefit to the sector.”

Amy Eastwood, Head of Grants at Historic Environment Scotland, added:

“It is extremely important that we develop and promote traditional skills training opportunities and we are pleased to support Industrial Museums Scotland with £14,712 as part of our Historic Environment Support Fund. By training the next generation, we are helping to ensure that our historic environment is protected for the future.”

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