Our latest Annual Report details our work in 2019/20 across the four nations of the UK, working with a range of sector bodies, stakeholders, funders and networks in areas such as collections, ethics, climate change, decolonisation, learning and engagement, and workforce development.
We connected with and supported museums with events in Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Leeds, London, Manchester, Norwich, Perth and Wrexham. Our annual conference in Brighton focused on ethics and sustainability, with our Museums Change Lives Awards celebrating the achievements of museums large and small.
We were pleased to launch Empowering Collections, the result of research and consultation with over 1,000 people from across the sector. The strategy calls for museums, funders and policymakers to work together to ensure that our collections are empowering, relevant and dynamic. Our decolonisation working group was one of the first significant outcomes of this work.
We also launched new research on learning and engagement and created Museum Essentials, a digital learning resource for our individual members. The first modules have already been taken up by thousands of members. 300 people participated in the Associate of the Museums Association (AMA) programme during the year, with 23 people being awarded their AMA, while two members achieved the Fellowship of the Museums Association (FMA).
We worked with a wide range of partners to advocate for museums with governments, funders and other stakeholders across all four nations. Complementing this, £1.2m of practical support was delivered to museums through the Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund, the Beecroft Bequest and the Benevolent Fund, with the latter supporting 100 inclusive events places for members with protected characteristics.
A new strategic framework was developed to guide us for the next five years, underpinned by research, evaluation and member feedback. Our focus for 2020-21 and beyond concentrates on supporting our members’ sustainability in these uncertain times, advocating strongly and in partnership with other organisations for the value of museums, and offering support, guidance, and practical assistance to our members for the challenges ahead.
We reaffirmed our commitment to being a values-led organisation, building on our flagship Museums Change Lives campaign and encouraging more museums to work in new partnerships to deliver social impact, be relevant to their communities, and tackle pressing contemporary issues in society, notably racism and climate change.
“In last year’s Annual Report, I described 2018-19 as a year defined by change and uncertainty, but the final month of 2019-20 put that comment in the shade with the closure of our fabulous museums as the impact of Covid-19 took hold. The team adapted with agility, quickly prioritising staff welfare, business continuity and support for our members. Support for our members focused on advocacy, digital content, and on workforce and funding support, something that our new strategic framework gave us a clear vision and strong platform to respond from,” says our president Maggie Appleton.
Annual General Meeting 2020
The report also contains the agenda for our Annual General Meeting, which was held on 5 November 2020 as part of our annual conference.
All resolutions at the meeting were passed, including a freeze on all membership rates for 2021/22 in recognition of the impacts of the pandemic on our members.
The meeting also included a keynote from our president, and the announcement of the winners of the 2020 Museums Change Lives Awards.