National Museum of Scotland

Scottish strategy needs to address funding

Patrick Steel, 09.11.2011
MA consultation response calls for long-term funding as part of strategy
The Museums Association’s response to the Scottish National Strategy Consultation, published today, calls for the strategy to address the issue of funding for museums in Scotland in both the short and longer term, and to build a case for improved long-term stable funding, tied to transformation and collaboration.

Local authority museums, in particular, are suffering from short-termism, according to the response: "In the short term, many museums in Scotland appear to be in decline, primarily as a result of cuts in local authority funding. Many local government museums appear to be on their knees.

"There is an urgent need to address the decline in services at many museums. The new National Development Body must be able to powerfully engage with local authorities to argue for continued funding."

Scotland’s museums must be "relevant by having improved impact and to be resilient, or sustainable", the response suggests, while "a move towards shared services, collections rationalisation, skill and knowledge sharing and collaborative programming is essential to counter the likely decline in service provision".

Rowan Brown, the director of the National Mining Museum Scotland and a member of the MA Board, said: "The response is clear on the importance of learning from the experience of running major projects like Effective Collections and looking at how that can have the broadest possible impact, making the best possible use of resources."

The response also emphasised the need for a draft strategy for consultation, building on the consultation document, and clearer consultation on the shape and functions of the development body.

The MA’s head of policy, Maurice Davies, wrote in his blog today: “Too often strategies try to please everyone and so end up saying everything and nothing. That’s sadly true of the perfectly agreeable and largely bland consultation document…

"This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to set a new vision for Scotland’s museums. There is a huge responsibility on those leading the strategy to get it right.”

Brown added: “This response shows that the MA has a real vested interest in its Scottish members and is being proactive in engaging with Scottish issues. It is great that members are responding, and that has really helped the MA shape this response.”

Click here to read the MA's response in full (pdf)

To read Maurice Davies' blog, click here

Click here to see the consultation document (MGS website)



We said the Scottish Mining Museum where we meant the National Mining Museum Scotland.