Statues from York St Mary's Abbey, on display in Medieval York: The Power and the Glory at York Museum. Credit: Gareth Buddo. Copyright: York Museums Trust

ACE announces £8m museum development fund partners

Rebecca Atkinson, 10.05.2012
Three-year contracts for nine museum services
Nine museum services have been awarded just over £8m from Arts Council England’s (ACE) museum development fund to provide a national network of professional advice and support smaller museums.

The successful services, of which seven are also Renaissance-funded major museum providers, will receive a total of £8.07m between 2012 and 2015 to carry out targeted work such as business planning, workforce development, attracting new audiences and organisational improvement.

Bristol City Museum & Art Gallery & Archives has received the largest award of £1.19m, which it will use to provide support as part of a larger network with Plymouth City Museum & Art Gallery, the Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery and the South West Federation of Museums & Galleries.

This is closely followed by Norfolk Museum & Archaeology Service’s award of £1.14m and Brighton & Hove’s Royal Pavilion & Museums Service’s £1.4m (as part of a wider network with Hampshire County Council Arts & Museums, Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust and Oxfordshire County Museums Service).

The other major museum partners to receive museum development funding are: Manchester City Galleries, in association with Manchester Museum, Whitworth Art Gallery, Tullie House Museum & Art Gallery, the Wordsworth Trust and the Lakeland Arts Trust (£880,000); York Museums Trust (£840,000); the Museum of London (£650,190); and Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums (£416,000).

Meanwhile, Herefordshire Heritage Service and the Marches Network, a cross-country museum partnership, have been awarded £832,000, while Leicestershire County Council has received £719,887.

Mark Taylor, director of the Museums Association, said he hoped the three-year contracts would enable long-term planning and capacity building.

He added: “It always seemed that ACE assumed that the major museum partners would be first in line to do this work but it is good to see other museums and organisations involved who have a history and culture of museum development."

The museum development providers will work closely with ACE’s major partner museums.

“We’re confident that the final nine museum development providers are in the best position to build on previous successes, and, in working with the other strands of our Renaissance activity, can develop the sustainability of regional museums across the country,” said Alan Davey, chief executive at ACE.

Iain Watson, director of Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums, said: “For the past three years we have worked extensively with other museums in the north east to offer professional support in areas such as conservation, audience development and care of collections. This funding means that we can continue this work over the next three years, helping to maximise the benefits of museums to people in the region.”

And David Spence, interim director at the Museum of London, said: “This news is a terrific endorsement of the standing of the museum and of its leadership role in the cultural life of London.”

NETWORKS

Meanwhile, applications for subject specialist network funding have opened today, with a £150,000 annual fund available to support the sharing of knowledge and expertise about museum collections across the country.

New and existing subject specialist networks are able to apply for the funding.

Meanwhile, the £700,000 annual Designation development fund will open in late May. This funding is for projects that ensure the long-term sustainability of Designated collections.

Details of the the Renaissance strategic support fund, which focuses on gaps of development opportunities not addressed by other funds, will be announced in the summer.

About £7m will be made available through the strategic support fund In 2012-13, with £15m in 2013-14 and 2014-15.

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