Happy Museum Project launches peer learning network

15 organisations will participate in seminars, workshops and events
Jonathan Knott
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The Happy Museum Project has announced 15 affiliate organisations that will form a new peer learning network.

The group, which includes a range of museum types alongside other organisations, will take part in a peer-developed programme of seminars, exhibitions, workshops, placements and other events.

The affiliate scheme forms part of the wider Happy Museum Project, which aims to provide a framework for museums to work on sustainability and wellbeing. Since it began in 2012, the project has sought to develop a “community of practice” through funding commissions, holding workshops and sharing tools and resources. The project is supported by Arts Council England and the charity People United.

In a statement, the Happy Museum Project said that the affiliates “will form part of a supportive and collaborative peer network to explore the role of museums and culture in addressing the big issues – such as climate change and social justice”.

The project expects that connecting the affiliates to thinkers beyond the museum sector in economics, ecology and psychology will lead to exciting programmes and partnerships.

The affiliate organisations form a diverse group, including Major Partner Museums Leeds Museums and Oxford University Museums, independent museums such as the Design Museum in London and the People’s History Museum in Manchester, and local authority museums including Reading Museum and Abergavenny Museum.

The group also includes a museum in development, the Museum of Homelessness, as well as the digital cultural publishing agency Culture 24 and Chester Zoo.

Tony Butler, the executive director at Derby Museums Trust and founder of the Happy Museum Project, said: “We’re delighted that so many museums want to support a creative network based on a mutual belief in shared humanity, care and stewardship of the environment. In these current divisive times it seems these values are more important than ever.”

John Orna-Ornstein, the director of museums at ACE, said that skill-sharing in the sector was essential to ensure that museums continued to inspire and challenge audiences. He said that the affiliate scheme would provide an important platform for the organisations to share best practice, “not only to support the long-term resilience of their organisations, but also to ensure that they continue to support the wellbeing of their audiences”.

Tina Corri, the chief executive of People United, said that the organisation was delighted to be supporting the continued development of the Happy Museum Project, adding “we look forward to deepening our partnership over the coming years”.

The Happy Museum Project hopes to engage further affiliates in 2017 and beyond.

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