Roman Baths, Bath

Local and Regional support

Local and regional support for English museums is getting into a mess
Good development support for museums significantly improves services locally.

However, local and regional advice and support for museums in England has got into a mess. The previous government ‘nationalised’ and then dismantled the Area Museum Councils, a structure that was mutually supportive and locally governed.

The present government has closed down the Renaissance hubs that did much to fill the gap. Many museum development officers posts are ending.

At a time when collaborative and partnership working is being encouraged by government the mechanisms that achieve that are being dismantled. Support, development and coordination for smaller museums looks set to be worse than it has been for a generation.

There is a continuing need for nationally planned programmes to support museum development strategically and to provide advice.

However, Arts Council England needs to review and simplify advisory and support agencies, frameworks and networks so that they can effectively strengthen the sector’s ability to achieve greater impact and public benefit.

Areas that need to be reviewed together and given clarity and coherence include museum development, workforce development, collections advice and the Collections Trust, support for museums to achieve accreditation and the Subject Specialist Networks.

We’re also encouraging the existing voluntary museum federations to consider what they might do to help. We brought them together to compare notes in January 2011.

To read our detailed submission to ACE, click here (pdf)

To read about the Federations meeting, click here

To read comments about Museum Development click here