£1m funding for Scottish museums

Funding announced as museums start work on developing national strategy
Profile image for Rebecca Atkinson
Rebecca Atkinson
The Scottish Executive has announced more than £1m of funding for Scotland’s museums and galleries alongside an update on plans to implement a national strategy.

Culture minister Fiona Hyslop said that £870,000 capital and revenue support would be made available for Scotland’s 27 Recognised Collections of National Significance from the 2011/12 budget, up from £860,000 last year.

A further £150,000 has been given to the National Fund for Acquisitions for 2011/12, a 25% cut. The fund has remained static at £200,000 since 1996, meaning its real value is already considerably diminished by inflation.

Hyslop also confirmed that arrangements are underway for Museums Galleries Scotland (MGS) to take on a new role as national development body for Scotland’s museums from April 2012. Last year, the Scottish Museums Think Tank report recommended that such a body be established as the key single organisation to develop and deliver strategy for the sector and, at its AGM on 18 March, members of MGS agreed that the organisation can start the work needed to take on the role.

Fiona Ballantyne, chairwoman of MGS, welcomed the announcement: “This acknowledgment of the skills and expertise of Museums Galleries Scotland really allows us to build on our work to develop and support a sustainable museums and galleries sector in Scotland.”

The thinktank report also recommended the development of a national strategy for Scotland’s museums and galleries, and the Scottish government has now announced that a forum to provide advice and support on the strategy will be finalised after the elections.

In the meantime, MGS and strategic partners National Museums Scotland, National Galleries of Scotland and Glasgow Life have identified the strategy’s overarching themes as: how the sector can make the best use of available skills and resources; how it can meet its long-term ambitions; and the impact and role of museums in society. Consultation with the wider sector will begin this summer.

Hyslop said: “This will harness the potential of the sector, providing opportunities for museums and galleries the length and breadth of Scotland to realise their ambitions during these challenging economic times.”

Following the thinktank report, the Scottish Executive agreed to directly fund the Scottish Mining Museum, Scottish Maritime Museum and Scottish Fisheries Museum. Hyslop said the formation of a Federation for Scottish industrial museums was now underway.

Update 22.03.2011

This article originally stated that the National Fund for Acquisitions had previously been cut by 50%. This is incorrect and has been corrected. The headline also changed from “£1m funding boost for Scottish museums” to omit the word boost.

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