Blog | Communicating the value of museums to policymakers - Museums Association

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Blog | Communicating the value of museums to policymakers

November/December 2023

Over the last few months, we have continued to meet with politicians and decision-makers to make the case for the value of museums.

Museum Manifesto

At our annual conference in Newcastle-Gateshead last month, we launched our Museum Manifesto.

We will be using this manifesto to advocate for strategic long-term investment and the right for everyone to have access to a good quality museum service near to where they live.

We believe that museums are an essential part of the fabric of society and can have a transformational impact on people. They can enhance health and wellbeing and are spaces where the public can experience a wide range of cultures and ideas.

However, museums across the UK are facing serious challenges caused by decades of funding cuts. We need strategic investment so that museums across the UK can deliver for their communities.

The manifesto contains a number of asks including for fair, long-term funding settlement for local government and for the Museums and Galleries Exhibition Tax Relief to continue.

In the run up to the General Election, we will be putting these asks to all the major political parties.

Meeting with Shadow Culture Secretary

We met with the Shadow Minister for Arts, Heritage and Civil Society, Lilian Greenwood, where we presented our museums manifesto on behalf of the sector. The minister was receptive to our requests and the meeting was an overall success.

Senedd event

In October, we co-chaired Museums at the Senedd: Celebrating cultural rights, anti-racism and wellbeing alongside Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales and the Welsh Federation of Museums and Galleries. The event was an opportunity for museums across Wales to share the work they have been doing with their local communities.

Scottish Parliament Culture in Communities debate

Following on from our response to Scottish Parliament’s inquiry on Culture in Communities, we were invited to attend an event in Scottish Parliament before the debate on the Committee’s report, Culture in Communities: The challenges and opportunities in delivering a place-based approach.

At the event, community organisations and volunteers shared their experiences of place-based culture, and we had the opportunity to meet with some members of the Culture Committee.

In our response to the inquiry on Culture in Communities, we made the point that reductions in local authority spend will result in some local authorities limiting cultural provision or removing free access to culture. We are pleased that the Convenor of the Culture Committee, Clare Adamson, raised this point during the debate.

Advocacy workshop at MA conference

At conference we ran a practical workshop on advocating for your museum that encouraged participants to work through scenarios and create an advocacy plan.

The workshop included tips on how you can advocate effectively for your museum, regardless of seniority or role, including by creating strong key messages and gathering strong data and evidence to support these claims.

In 2024 we will continue advocate for the museum sector at a strategic level as well as to provide further resources to support you to do your own everyday advocacy.