Editorial | Making an impact in hard times - Museums Association

Editorial | Making an impact in hard times

Museums all over the UK are doing great work

The news makes pretty grim reading at the moment. As if the spiralling cost of living was not enough, ongoing transport woes are causing chaos across the UK and the shadow of coronavirus is still with us. It’s going to be tough for lots of people for some time to come.

Museums will be impacted too, and dealing with the challenges won’t be easy, as the analysis articles in this issue show. But we should not forget that the sector is still doing lots of amazing stuff. 

Many museums are working hard to address the climate crisis, whether that is getting their own house in order or creating programming to engage the public. Our next issue of Museums Journal will be a climate special, where all the articles will focus on this crucial issue.

We should also recognise the fantastic work that museums are doing to address decolonisation. Many organisations have benefited from the Museums Association’s (MA) decolonisation guidance, which was unveiled last year. Building on this, the MA recently launched the Decolonisation Confidence and Skills programme, which will provide support for people to advance their decolonising practice. 

Other organisations are doing great work in this area, including Museums Galleries Scotland, which has published the long-awaited report from the Empire, Slavery & Scotland’s Museums Steering Group. This features six recommendations, including pushing for the creation of a dedicated space to tell the story of Scotland’s role in colonial conquest and historic slavery.

And in Wales, museums and the culture sector will play a key role in delivering the new Anti-Racist Wales Action Plan, which was recently published by the Welsh Government. Meanwhile, repatriation projects continue apace, with recent examples at National Museums NI and the Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter.

These are just a few examples of the innovative, ambitious and impactful work that is happening in museums throughout the UK. The MA will celebrate some of most exciting projects in this year’s Museums Change Lives Awards, which will be announced at our annual conference in Edinburgh. Do join us in November to celebrate the sector’s achievements.

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