Museums Change Lives helps NMNI win funding

Geraldine Kendall, 10.10.2014
MA's vision for impact enables museum to make the case for investment
The Museums Association’s (MA) Museums Change Lives vision document played a key role in a bid that saw National Museums Northern Ireland (NMNI) awarded £300,000 funding from the government, conference delegates heard yesterday.

In a speech at the MA’s AGM, Paddy Gilmour, the director of learning and partnership at NMNI, told delegates how Museums Change Lives helped to persuade politicians to fund a social inclusion museum project last year targeting the top 10 areas of deprivation in Northern Ireland.

Gilmour said: “Museums Change Lives was a central part of the bid that we put together.”

The framework laid out in Museums Change Lives helped the institution to demonstrate the potential impact it could have on alleviating poverty, he said, and the bid won unanimous support from government ministers who had initially been skeptical about what museums could achieve.

The funding from the Department for Culture, Arts and Leisure enabled NMNI to run 18 projects for children from deprived backgrounds across the nation, including museum sleepovers, visits for children living in homeless hostels, and family trips for people who could not otherwise afford transport.

“What we’re doing has a powerful impact,” said Gilmour. “Museums actually do change lives.”