The Scottish Crannog Centre, an independent museum in Perthshire. Image: MGS

Scotland’s independent museums get £4m rescue package

Jonathan Knott, 27.07.2020
Funding will be targeted at communities with fewer cultural opportunities
The Scottish government has created a £4m fund to help the country’s independent museums survive the coronavirus pandemic.

The funding pot will help museums and galleries bring staff back from furlough, reopen to visitors and stave off insolvency. It will be administered by Museums Galleries Scotland (MGS) to support Accredited and non-Accredited museums.

Scotland’s culture secretary, Fiona Hyslop, said many museums “are now at a critical juncture in making decisions about whether they can afford to reopen, looking at possible redundancies, cancelling events and putting off critical repairs”.

“I am pleased to announce this much needed support for the sector to help them get through the rest of the financial year,” said Hyslop.

She added: “As part of the campaign to encourage Scots to staycation this summer, I would encourage everyone to consider visiting their local museums, galleries and heritage attractions, if they are open. Scotland’s communities are relying on our continued support.”

The government says that without this support, a majority of Scottish independent museums could run out of money by March 2021. It says MGS will “target support to museums in communities where closure would have a heightened impact because of a lack of alternative cultural attractions nearby.”

The chief executive of MGS, Lucy Casot, said: “This financial support will enable us to alleviate the intense pressures felt by our independent museums and heralds a precious opportunity for the passionate and skilled people working in this sector to plan, to collaborate and to deliver vital services with and within communities.

“Museums and galleries are a vital part of the fabric of our towns, cities and communities the length and breadth of this country and we welcome the Scottish government’s recognition of their important role through this support.”

The funding is being drawn from the £97m made available to Scotland through the UK government’s £1.57bn cultural sector support package.

In May, groups representing Scotland’s independent museums called for urgent support, saying half of these institutions were facing a crisis by the end of the summer.

MGS said it is working with the museum sector to determine needs and will launch the fund as soon as possible.

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