Making an impact with collections

Simon Stephens, 20.09.2017
How the Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund is being used
One of the things I’ve really enjoyed at our recent series of Museums Association (MA) Members’ Meetings has been hearing about some of the fantastic projects happening all over the UK that are being supported by the Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund (EFCF). The fund has £3.5m to support collections development initatives that have a social impact.

This week we held an event at the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh where Martin Bellamy, the research and curatorial manager at Glasgow Museums Resource Centre, talked about a project to map, revisit and revitalise Glasgow’s migrant community collections.

The 18-month initiative has an £52,748 EFCF grant and includes work to support volunteer researchers and community curators from migrant backgrounds.

Last week I was at our Members’ Meeting at Ulster Museum, Belfast, where Ronan McConnell, the acting education officer at Derry City & Strabane District Council, discussed a project charting the history of the civil rights, labour and trade union movements in the area over the past century.

Speeches, Strikes and Struggles, which was launched at the Tower Museum, Derry, in June, includes a digital archive of images collected over the past 40 years relating to the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

Derry City & Strabane District Council received a £96,462 ECFC grant to engage audiences with three collections for the project. These include the Peter Moloney Collection, which deals with the history of significant events in Ireland and Northern Ireland, spanning more than 100 years, with a particular focus on the decades from the 1970s to the present day. There are 40,000 catalogued items within the Peter Moloney collection including posters, postcards, journals, badges and digital images of murals and parades.

This project is a partnership with the Museum of Free Derry, Libraries Northern Ireland and Ulster University.

In May we were in Swansea at the National Waterfront Museum where MA members heard from Morwenna Lewis, a curator at Pontypridd Museum, about a project to train the community to assess and co-create new interpretation for its social history collections. Whose History is it Anyway received £56,131 from EFCF.

All these ECFC projects are great examples of initiatives that reflect the new criteria for the fund, which has changed to emphasise the importance of supporting projects that have a positive social impact.

Links and downloads

Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund (EFCF)