£10.7m awarded to university museums in England

Hefce funding increases by £300,000
Patrick Steel
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The sector has welcomed a funding increase for university museums from £10.4m in 2016-17 to £10.7m in 2017-18, following a review by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (Hefce), which administers the funds.

Among the 33 recipients, a number of museums will receive funding for the first time, including the Museum of Design in Plastics at Arts University Bournemouth, the Cambridge University Botanic Garden, and the Leeds University Art Collection at the Stanley and Audrey Burton Gallery.

However the British Cartoon Archive at the University of Kent, which received £90,000, and the Museum of Domestic Design and Architecture at Middlesex University, which received £80,000 last year, will no longer be funded.

The Museum of Domestic Design and Architecture closed its public gallery spaces in 2011, although it still offers booked tours of its collections, which can be viewed on request.

The British Cartoon Archive is open to the public, but does not have Accreditation.

Kate Arnold-Forster, the head of university museums at the University of Reading and co-chair of the University Museums Group (UMG), said: “UMG welcomes this announcement. As the body with a strategic overview of university museums, UMG was involved in the process early on and argued that minimum standards such as Accreditation should be taken into account.

“The review was largely seen as a fair and transparent process. We were properly consulted by Hefce, which took the sector’s feedback into account.

“It shows the importance of evidencing what we are achieving, and what is heartening is that the majority of museums are funded at the same level as previously.

“Of course it is difficult for those museums that have dropped out of the funding, but it is encouraging that at a time when the whole funding stream was at risk, the funding has been increased. It is great to have this recognition for the sector.”

Alistair Brown, the Museums Association’s policy officer, said: “The recent Hefce review of university museums recognised the huge contribution that university museums make to research, public engagement and local communities. It’s good to see this vote of confidence being backed up with continued public investment.”



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